Banishing Buzzwords


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The members of Connect: Professional Women’s Network dish on the words that drive them nuts at work—and how to avoid using them. To continue the conversation or join the LinkedIn group for free, visit

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Banishing Buzzwords

  1. BROUGHT TO YOU BY Banishing Buzzwords The members of Connect: Professional Women’s Network dish on the words that drive them nuts at work—and how to avoid using them.
  2. We all know them—the bosses and coworkers who rely so heavily on clichés that they can hardly utter a sentence without spewing out at least one. In one of Connect‟s most popular discussions to date, members vented about the words and phrases that set their teeth on edge. We‟ve rounded up the most (or should we say least?) popular offenders, along with some helpful tips about how to avoid falling into the jargon trap.
  3. THE SPORTS ANALOGIES “Team player” “Touch base” “Step up to the plate” “Aim for the goal post” “Raise the bar” “Tee it up” “Slam dunk” “Get the ball rolling” “Hit a home run” “Hit the ground running” “Step up your game”
  4. “People will say „I just want to touch base with you.‟ This would only make sense if we were baseball players. I‟m an accountant, for crying out loud. Let‟s all just agree to remove that phrase from our vernacular.” Jennifer Pluff, Senior Accountant
  5. “Win-win frequently means „win for us, and we think we can sucker the other side into thinking it is a big win for them.‟” Melissa Migliuri, Research Analyst
  6. “Clichés are an easy crutch people often use in both verbal and written communication. The real goal should generally be to form our own rather than automatically grabbing for a stale expression someone else came up with.” Karen Tavares, VP, Investigative Science and Engineering
  7. MIDDLE-MANAGEMENT JARGON “Utilize” “Value-added” “Success-driven” “Keep me in the loop” “Get your creative juices flowing” “Skill set” “At the end of the day” “Moving forward” “Mindshare” “Low-hanging fruit” “Get on the same page”
  8. “Think outside the box drives me crazy. In my environment, it‟s often used by people who want to criticize the current process without contributing something positive. How about „Let‟s get creative!” or “How can we approach this in a different way?‟” Sarah Descamps, Sales & Marketing
  9. “Circle back is the phrase I find most annoying. Not only does it sound silly, but I‟ve often found it‟s a kind way of saying, „We‟re putting this off indefinitely.‟ I seldom find that anyone circles back to anything.” Helen Gaye Brewster, Sales Associate
  10. “Sometimes it depends on who‟s saying it. You know those overly slick and insincere people who like to bandy phrases about so they seem in the know? The ones who toady up to executives and order administrative assistants around because it makes them feel better about their middle-management careers? Those folks can make ANYTHING annoying. Even a perfectly wonderful word like namaste.” Tara Browne, Brand Coordinator and Production Finance Manager
  11. COP-OUTS “It’s above my pay grade” “We’ve always done it that way” “It is what it is” “Don‟t fix it if it isn‟t broken” “Let sleeping dogs lie” “I don’t ask questions”
  12. “I don‟t like bandwidth, as in „I simply don‟t have the bandwidth to support that right now.‟ I prefer to hear „‟It‟s not my priority at the moment given my current workload.‟ We are not computers…or at least most of us aren‟t.” Tina Lancaster, Coding Assistant Manager
  13. “It is what it is. True, but if the situation is dysfunctional, do something to change it!” Heather Dykes, Human Resources Director
  14. JUST PLAIN WRONG “Déjà vu all over again” “A whole nother” “Orientated” “Revert back” “Exact same” “Not at the current time” “For all intensive purposes”
  15. “Irregardless. It‟s not even a word! I was listening to an interesting speaker the other day making a great presentation. Then he said irregardless, and he completely lost me. I have no idea what else was said.” Julie Denton, PMO Coordinator
  16. “Don‟t even get me started on previous experience (as opposed to the experiences you haven‟t yet had?) and each and every („nuff said). Lesa Kerlin Kiebel, Development Coach, Resume Writer
  17. “So many supposedly affirmative phrases reinforce the divide between management and the people they want to motivate. We‟re tired of hearing them, yet so few have the courage to speak plainly and fairly with their reports. It‟s a lot harder and more risky to connect and empathize with the person you‟re tasked with overseeing. But in the end, if you can achieve that balance (manage without losing your humanity), you restore credibility to your position.” Barbara Berger, Creative Director
  18. NEW-OFFENDERS “Incentivize” “Blue-sky thinking” “LEAN IN” “Synergize” “Prioritize”
  19. “How about dialogue when used such as „Have you dialoged with them?‟ Ugh! It makes me crazy!” Rachelle Petrancuri, Relationship Manager
  20. “Let’s take this offline. Why can‟t you just say, „We will talk about it later‟?” Jennifer Boglioli, Co-Interim Director of Alumni Relations
  21. “If we speak authentically and really consider our words, I would suspect that none of these phrases would show up, and we‟d all be better communicators.” Sally Ann Phillips, Vice President of Marketing
  22. Join the conversation! Connect: Professional Women’s Network, Powered by Citi, is an online community on LinkedIn that helps women achieve the careers they want and discuss the issues relevant to their success. For more great insights from Connect members, check out the discussions: What are some of the phrases that drive you crazy? and What SHOULD we be saying in the workplace? Visit for more information and to join the group for free! Photo Credits: Cover: ChrisM70/Flickr 2: Togataki/Shutterstock 3: Boris N/Shutterstock 4: Jeremy Derr/Flickr 5: Terry George/Flickr 6: Anastasiia Kucherenko 8: Marie Richie/Flickr 9: Rajesh Narayanan 12: JL Watkins/Flickr 13: auremar/Shutterstock 15: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr 16: Job Meeting/Flickr 19: TED Conference/Flickr 20: Dell's Official Flickr Page ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN‟S NETWORK 22
  23. ©2013 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved. CONNECT: PROFESSIONAL WOMEN‟S NETWORK 23