You’ve heard it before. Don’t use business jargon in your emails, PowerPoint presentations or on your web pages.
And certainly never let yourself get caught saying aloud such cubicle cliches as “seamless intergration” or “mission critical.” It makes you looks dumb and loses the respect of customers and colleagues.
But yet, somehow business jargon creeps back in to your communications. Maybe it’s because you don’t notice that such phrases as “come to Jesus meeting” or “kick the can down the road” are not just shorthand ways of making a point instantly understandable. They’re also canned phrases that have become nearly meaningless through overuse (and misuse). Or maybe it’s because your colleagues think it makes them sound savvy and powerful to speak the lingo.
Unfortunately for them, they’re wrong.
To help jargon-loving colleagues discover the error of their ways, it might help to casually share a list of jargony words and phrases — making clear it’s just for their amusement, of course.
“A Bizspeak Blacklist” from the Harvard Business Review offers some old favorites (“scalable,” “synergize”) along with some verbiage that you might not think of as business jargon (“at the end of the day”). The piece also does a nice job of showing how certain language is OK in its original context, such as the law (“actionable”) or electronics (“bandwidth”), but sounds pretentious in general usage.
Here’s the start of the list:
actionable (apart from legal action)
at the end of the day
back of the envelope
bandwidth (outside electronics)
bring our A game
Click here to see the whole blacklist for yourself.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group