Playing buzzword bingo

BBC.co.uk has posted a great collection of comments from readers about management speak.  In their campaign against office jargon, they’ve listed 50 of the best worst examples, including:

  • product evangelist
  • incentivise
  • let’s touch base about that offline
  • forward planning
  • granularity
  • leverage
  • cascading down information

Anyone who’s worked in a corporate office environment will get a laugh out of these.  One commenter said that his employer had advised staff they were no longer allowed to use the phrase ‘brain storm’ because “it might have negative connotations associated with fits. We must now take idea showers. I think that says it all really.”

Coming from the ICT industry, “not enough bandwidth” was a particularly popular piece of jargon that grates.  What about you?  What’s your best worst piece of office jargon?

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Karen Jamal said,

    I don’t know how this fits, but I hate the crazy overcapitalisation that is rife. Particularly, capitalising words such as “member” to make those members feel extra special, or “government” so that those bureaucrats feel important.

  2. 2

    Emma Dilemma said,

    I can’t bear when people say they’ve given 101% per cent. What? You couldn’t give more than 101%? How about 110? Or 200%, for that matter?

  3. 3

    No bull said,

    What about “pushing the envelope”, “thinking outside the square” or “raising the bar”?

    The Australian Institute of Management has developed this fantastic little program (free) called Bullfighter that appears as an icon in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and works much like a spell check feature. When it detects jargon and complicated language it dispenses a tongue in cheek reprimand to the author and suggests an alternative word or phrase.

    See: http://www.fightthebull.com/bullfighter.asp

  4. 4

    Melbourne Worker said,

    Ahhh, buzzwords (and buzzphrases I guess). Meetings would be so much shorter, but possibly less interesting without them…

    Maximising the synergistic potential seemed to be rather a favourite in some circles for a while, not heard much about synergies lately though thankfully.

    And I’m with you Emma – no-one should be allowed to use the word percent without first acquiring at least a basic understanding of the concept!

    Love the concept of the bullfighter, and if you’re looking for another tongue-in-cheek distraction, try the alternative motivational pictures here: http://www.despair.com/viewall.html

  5. 5

    Brian said,

    My current (least) favourite is ‘skill sets’. What is in skill sets that is not in skills? The second word is a completely redundant waste of space.


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