What’s all the buzz about?

Everyone uses business buzzwords, but some are better than others.

Several years ago, I wrote in this space about the prevalence of business buzzwords and jargon, and how, even though we all use them, we probably need to consider a fast from our appetite for these verbal shortcuts.

Now, someone has done actual research that shows the good and bad of business buzzwords.

Preply, a language learning app and e-learning platform, surveyed more than 1,551 Americans who work in an office setting either in-person or remotely to find out which business words and phrases they liked and disliked most:

10 most frequently used business buzzwords

  1. Win-win
  2. Culture (e.g., “Company culture”)
  3. ASAP (as soon as possible)
  4. Think outside the box
  5. Moving forward/going forward
  6. Circle back
  7. It’s on my radar
  8. On the same page
  9. Bring to the table
  10. New normal

10 most annoying business buzzwords

  1. New normal
  2. Culture (e.g., “Company culture”)
  3. Circle back
  4. Boots on the ground
  5. Give 110%
  6. Low-hanging fruit
  7. Win-win
  8. Move the needle
  9. Growth hacking
  10. Think outside the box

10 least annoying business buzzwords:

  1. At the end of the day
  2. Debrief
  3. Sweep the floors
  4. SMB (Small and mid-size business)
  5. Table this
  6. B2C (Business-to-consumer)
  7. Blue sky thinking
  8. Ideate
  9. Game changer
  10. Teamwork/Teambuilding/Team players

10 terms most likely to be red flags in job descriptions:

  1. Rockstar
  2. Wear many hats
  3. Thick skin
  4. Work hard, play hard
  5. Schedule TBD
  6. Urgently hiring
  7. Ninja
  8. Hit the ground running
  9. Fast-paced environment
  10. Overachiever

10 terms least likely to be red flags in job descriptions:

  1. Proactive
  2. Empower
  3. Leverage
  4. Lots of perks and benefits
  5. Proven track record
  6. Resilient
  7. Fun/Amazing/Unique company culture
  8. Sense of humor
  9. Passionate
  10. Competitive salary

“In the workplace, employees and people managers use a distinctive type of corporate jargon that can sound like a lot while meaning very little,” notes Mary Glowacka, Centre of Excellence lead for Preply. “These buzzwords can appear in emails, meetings, and conversations.

“Buzzwords are common in the workplace, but a lot of people hate many of them,” Glowacka continues. “In addition, some buzzwords are so bad that if people see them in a job ad, some won’t bother to apply. Business jargon is at times a necessary evil, with three out of four respondents saying it can make a person sound more professional, but that doesn’t mean people love every snappy catchphrase exchanged between co-workers.”

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