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Buzzwords…

Are they making you sound like a robot?

1/18/2024 | Jessica Onions, Designer Patch

Whether at the office, in an advertisement, or on social media, we’ve all come across buzzwords. And if you’re like me, some make you cringe with their vast overuse. (Sorry if “cringe” is one for you.) So what can we do to prevent ourselves from sounding like robots programmed with a limited vocabulary?

First off, let’s define buzzword. “1. an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen; 2. a voguish word or phrase” (merriam-webster.com) In a time with social media being very dominant and trends leading the way, it’s no wonder every other TikTok or Reel spews out the words I’m obsessed, gatekeeping, or trust the process. (No disrespect if you use any of these, they’re just examples of what I hear constantly on social platforms.)

As for the corporate world, buzzwords can not only be annoying due to their overuse, but they can also cause miscommunication. If you're not aware of their meanings, you may be confused and misinterpret what was intended. Let's try to reign the buzzwords in and be more straightforward. Here are some terms I gathered from various websites that made lists of buzzwords they found most annoying. (There were a lot more words on each site’s list but below is what appeared across multiple.)

Ping - just say email, message, call so we know where to expect to hear from you
Circle Back - leaves the person an option to do nothing, be considerate of other's time
Deep Dive - nobody is going underwater, it’s just a thorough meeting
Low-Hanging Fruit - sounds like leftovers nobody wants, let’s go with easier wins
Unpack - this isn’t a therapy session (unless you are a Therapist), try review
Synergy - are things really vibing or are you blowing smoke? (vibing - another buzzword??)
Headwinds / Tailwinds - cut to the chase, they’re challenges or opportunities

Expressions that were a new way to convey something now sound outdated due to overuse and drive those who have to listen to them over and over a little crazy. What may seem like a cool phrase to you could be like nails on a chalkboard to someone else. If you’re afraid you overuse buzzwords, try weeding them out one-by-one from everyday use (verbally and written).

I'd love to know what buzzwords you're tired of hearing.



Sources: resourcefulmanager.com, forbes.com, entertherain.com, psychologytoday.com

Jessica is the Art Director at PromoCorner and has been in the promotional products industry since 2010. With a degree in Graphic Design, she has been working in Marketing since 2006 creating advertising of all sizes; from social posts to billboards. Jessica shares her passion for design in her monthly blog, Designer Patch. She can be reached at jessica@promocorner.com.
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