I have been amused, bemused and hugely entertained by a LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/ discussion that has focused on “buzzwords” or, more precisely, the “buzzwords” that should be erased, wiped out, eradicated, binned, dumped, banned, buried – for ever.
Like the word “buzzword” itself, as one contributor suggested prompting no argument from me. When a BBC2 Newsnight presenter used the expression “bigging up” one night last week, I knew that my time in the doldrums as far as blogging was concerned needed to end.
Apologies for being pedantic, but the “buzzwords” topic should really have been about ridding the world – pronto – of annoying and meaningless phrases or terms that people in business, mainly, have latched on to and use, remorselessly, thinking they sound authoritative, smart or contemporary.
Or, maybe, like bonus-winning bankers, they think they are hoodwinking us with their snake-oil jargon, the nest of vipers that they are.
That aside the LinkedIn conversation, started by Jim Bianchi, who heads his own PR company in the Detroit area, has been enlightening and informative. http://jbianchi777.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/20-business-buzzwords-you-want-to-kill/
Loads of us want this gobbledygook to end, the gibberish that clouds reality – words stuck together that mean little or nothing.
Even in the world of hiring new staff, the latest buzzwords and phrases are causing confusion leading to demands for plain talking from applicants.
While, many of the examples responding to Jim Bianchi’s question were US- centric, we will recognise many and, worse, will be reminded of people who use them as naturally as they stare at their iPhone/Blackberry when you’re in their company.
One of the first to bob up was a belter - boil the ocean. Brilliant. What does it mean? I had no idea until some helpful US contributor suggested: "….if a member of the corporate pantheon suggests you are trying to ‘boil the ocean,’ he or she thinks you are doing something incredibly inefficiently.” Is that the same as “you’re making a mess of it?”
My tuppence worth included “raft of ideas” and the really annoying "ticking all the rihgt boxes" but this guy, Tim Trout - http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/tim-trout/18/21b/a46had - had me in fits with this example he had come across.
“We are a full-spectrum consumer-focused solutions provider. Our teams are experienced in transitioning processes and systems to supply the platform your organisation and customers need. Our iterative product-development methodologies expedite the evolution of next-generation functionality. We can enhance your existing business and portal strategies or collaborate across disciplines to create new and exciting iterative change.” As Tim put it, “…a cool twenty or more for the price of one.” Utterly gruesome and shocking that some people are dim enough to fall or be impressed by such verbiage – or mince, to be more precise.
Action plan; at the end of the day; bells and whistles; best practice; blamestorming; blue sky thinking; goal-oriented; fit for purpose; moving the goal posts; multi-tasking; on the same page; open door policy; parachute in; tasked; touch base; transparency and value-added. A catalogue of the meaningless spouted by the vacuous, I suggest.
Not forgetting, of course, “thought showers” instead of “brainstorming.” To think someone, somewhere had enough time to sit and create this dross.
Any other examples? I’d love to hear about them. Or versionise, as I heard someone utter during a Radio Scotland interview recently.