It’s a typical Zoom meeting. The boss is leading the charge for 2021. The plan is to re-shape the culture, focus the team’s efforts in a positive direction and take on bold new initiatives.
The following slide pops up in her Power Point. These are your three main goals for the new year:
1. Incentivize out-of-the-box functionalities
2. Strategize mission critical initiatives
3. Synergize robust mindshare
You look at the screen and blink several times. You have absolutely zero clue what any of these actually mean. Yet, you and your fellow teammates nod knowingly and vow to give 110% to achieving these goals.
The above scenario is, of course, completely fictitious. The “goals” were made up by using an online jargon generator. (I’ve included the link below). However, there is enough truth buried within this example to cause just a twinge of anxiety.
One of our goals for 2021 – besides survival – should be to reduce our use and dependence on jargon. Every industry does it. In the right setting, jargon can be used to effectively communicate with peers in a knowledge-based environment.
However, when used for evil, jargon only adds meaningless verbiage that covers up a lack of substance.
Here are a few examples we should really, really stop using:
- Impact – A personal pet peeve. This word is a noun. Please stop using it as a verb. Your fourth grade English teacher will be proud.
- Synergize – OK, this is a verb but is overused to where it has lost its impact (sorry). Can’t we just say: Let’s work together on this?”
- Low Hanging Fruit – Unless you work in an orchard please. Just stop.
- Thought Leader – Rather than say it – do it. Whatever industry you are involved with be at the forefront of innovation, ideas and service. You can become a thought leader. You are not anointed one.
- On The Same Page – How about: “I agree with you.”
- Bandwidth – Unless you’re dealing with the Internet this is just so pretentious.
- It is what it is – The phrase everyone uses when they do not have an answer. This is a conversation stopper. If you don’t know, simply say you don’t know.
- At the end of the day – Thanks, Thomas Huxley, for contributing this cliché to the conversation. Maybe we could just say something like : “Ultimately…”
There is a fine line between jargon and clichés. Industry specific jargon can be useful. Generic biz speak is often just word salad that can be so tedious.
Please share your “favorite” bits of jargon in the comment space below. Do it now. Don’t “put a pin in it”.
Here’s the jargon generator referenced above: https://www.robietherobot.com/buzzword.htm