Buzzwords Smart People Won’t Say
When I grew up we said cool things like:
- Far Out: This is a souped-up version of cool.
- Boogie: Dancing.
- Right on: I agree.
- Dig, dig it, or can you dig it: I understand or do you understand.
- Groovy: Another word for cool only more cooler.
- Out of sight. Beyond cool, groovy, or far out.
- Psyche: I was joking. This is a serious post. Psyche!
Buzzwords smart people won’t say:
- New normal. (No comment.)
- Synergy. If you plan to work together say, “We’re working together.”
- Circle back. The translation of, “Let’s circle back on this,” is, I don’t want to talk about this, and I don’t plan to.
- Take this offline. Give me a break. We do everything online. The only thing you do offline is go to the restroom. Oops, I take it back. I bet you take your phone to the restroom. You’re never offline.
- Pivot. How important do we have to sound? The word is change or adjust. The only place to pivot is in a horror movie.
- Unprecedented. Nothing is unprecedented. Compared to the Spanish Flu, Covid is precedented.
- Think outside the box. Anyone who says, “Think outside the box,” isn’t groovy.
- Bandwidth. I don’t have enough bandwidth. You’d have more bandwidth if you stopped using stupid words.
- Deep Dive. I’ve used several of the expressions on this list. Thankfully, I haven’t stooped so low as to take a Deep Dive into ridiculous buzzwords.
- Thought leader. This one is a cousin to influencer. I’ve been asked if I’m a thought leader. I don’t know, I’ve never thought of referring to myself as a thought leader.
What’s the most annoying buzzword that should be retired?
Any copywriter/advertising/marketing operative who allows the words “whole new level” to be used is not working hard enough for their client
Thanks Mike. But who wants a half new level? 🙂
That would be a mezanine.
Ahh, mezanine can be good! Thanks Phillip.
A cousin to “take it to the next level.” How about “work it until you get it” instead?
Thanks Scott. I’m not sure I get it. 🙂 I guess I need to work it more.
“Fake it until you make it” Supplanted by “Work it until you get it”. Maybe originated from this blog, can’t remember. The change in verbiage has accelerated new staff’s learning curve in genuine learning and acceptance.
Thanks Scott. I like the idea of trying new things. What a cool thing that a shift in language can also accelerate learning. A shift in words can cause a shift in perception.
“ Intersectionality” what does this mean anyway?
Thanks Roger. I read several definitions of intersectionality. Seems like people are complicated.
“AT THE END OF THE DAY”
Thanks azchaplian. Ultimately, that’s just too many words.
Dan this post is totally groovy, I’m so like psyched to jive with my squad about your coolness! Lol! Thanks for your mindful look at ourselves 👍👍
I can dig it. Thanks Christina.
Can’t remember the last time anyone used psyched around me!
Moving forward I’ll be rolling out these, as I’ve got skin in the game.
Thanks Warren. You have real talent with this. I’m dizzy.
A new buzzword I already hear for 2022 is “optimization” which I interpret as code for “downsizing”. Just when you think your job is safe… Psyche!
Oooo, good one Jeff. You’ve been optimized. Thanks.
“Unpack”. What? Is it in a box? Did you snail mail it in? Could you explain explore or teach it to me instead?
By the way, you’ve now given “thought-leader” a creepy guru, cult-like, mind control connotation for me. Thanks for that!
Haha! Thanks Trish. Let me unpack that for you. Go to sleep…. Take out your credit card… email the number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We need to socialize the idea”. It’s just a suggestion, not a puppy!
Thanks Annie. I remember the first time I heard “socialize an idea.” I had no idea what it meant. Like so many buzzwords it’s a useful idea.
Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Succinctly.
I will add “Agent of change”, which in my house meant the person whose turn it was to change the baby’s diaper. And my kids are 21 and 24, so really retire that one.
Haha! Somehow when you connect change agent to diapers it loses it’s glamour! Thanks
Thanks Dan, ‘to your point’…right on! I’ll ‘circulate this internally’ and have the team ‘reach out’ to you for more words of wisdom in the upcoming year. I like your ‘forward thinking’!
Thanks Linda. Here’s to success in 2022. I wish you and your team well.
Now that you have all these new idioms, I am sure your team will understand that the things you say are “higher level”. But please be careful with them, don’t confuse the “lower level” peons…..
Well that’s a high value comment. Cheers
laughing through this. These words will continue to be used regularly in my world, but I will never hear them the same again. My pet peeve word is “socialize”. We need to “socialize” this idea. No we don’t. We just need to communicate it.
Thanks Katherine. I was scheduling some tweets and saw a couple buzzwords. It’s all tongue in cheek. Fun to reflect.
There are a few that make me cringe. Many are harmless. A few can be helpful.
PLEASE! PLEASE! RETIRE “PROACTIVE” the buzz word of lazy managers of the 90’s. Imagine all the words you can use instead of “PROACTIVE” … I move, I breathe, I move like a sloth … theses are all PROACTIVE. THE LAZIEST OF ALL WORDS … PROACTIVE … because you’re too tired to look in a thesaurus and come up with words like forethought, anticipation, planning, forward planning, provision, precaution, prescience, circumspection, prudence, care, caution; foresight, far-sightedness, discernment, presence of mind, judiciousness, perspicacity, vision, awareness, penetration; North American forehandedness (definition from Dictionary.com)
“right on!” is a standard for me as well as “Yeppers!”.. Recommendations of words/phrases to be retired: “philosophical discussion”, “revisit” (a child of “circle back”), “touch base” (being a hockey fan I would replace this with “hip check” but that may not work very well). Ha!
Incentivize. Why can’t you just incent someone anymore?
First, get rid of the box.
Second, get rid of buzzwords.
I really dug this post. Another word to retire is “Calibrate”. I thought that was part of the braking system in my car. To go with the humor of this post:
As a “Thought Leader”, I believe it is really important that we “Think outside of the box” during these “unprecedented” times, which have given us a “new normal”. I think that we need to “circle back” so that we can “calibrate” and “deep dive” into how “bandwidth” is affecting our “synergy”. Doing so will help us “pivot” towards a “groovy” future. If need be we can “take this offline” to discuss it further. You can call my cell. “Can you dig it?”
We will continue to use synergy/synergist. The difference is we use it in its original meaning and we know what it’s for! It’s a great example of a highly specific, technical concept taken out of concept, largely by idiots.
I did once combine two buzzword sayings into one new one with the express intention of getting people to use it without having any idea of its meaning.
Sure enough, within a couple of weeks, my buzzword came back to me; “punching the low-hanging fruit”.
Now there’s a new challenge for you and your readers…. 🙂
“Pivot” for the win. Anybody using that word like that needs to be thrown into a fire.
The article was a good list of terms/phrases that I shouldn’t adopt. LOL But the best part of this article was the other suggestions along with banter and fun found in the comments. Thanks.
Great list! Here’s one I would add: My request is that people stop using “ask” as a noun.
“Reach out”, “circle back”, “it is what it is”, and my absolute least favorite – “pivot” which is on the list.