Home » HR Tips » The Buzz around buzzwords

The Buzz around buzzwords

Can we please, please stop the buzzword madness?

What is all the buzz around buzzwords? I am going on a bit of a rant, specifically about the overuse of trendy buzzwords. It would be rude and therefore unkind if I pointed out each time a conversation becomes full of trendy buzzwords. Not to mention, a conversation full of buzzwords lacks depth. I don’t know about you, but I like a good in-depth conversation, one from the heart and soul. This is a personal pet peeve. 

Keep in mind:

  1. The use of buzzwords does not make you sound intellectual but rather that you are trying too hard to fit in.
  2. Buzzwords do not make you sound professional, instead, make it seem as thought you may be hiding something or you are unprepared.
  3. Incorporating buzzwords into your conversation, does not make you sound cool but on the contrary, you lack authencity. 

Buzzword, By Definition:

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines a buzzword (hyphenating the term as buzz-word) as a slogan, or as a fashionable piece of jargon: a chic, fashionable, voguish, trendy word a la mode.

The ease of the use of buzzwords

Try not to get caught up in anything too trendy. It tends to feel obvious. That said, I understand how it happens. You hear buzzwords over and over, ultimately making it easy to pick up in your conversations. The next thing you know is you start using the buzzwords in your conversations. I have been there. We have all been there. Admit it. I have been and probably will again be caught in the buzzword trap. That said, I will actively and aggressively work to avoid that trap.

I try to pay attention and correct it, quickly.  

What happened to authenticity?

The use or overuse of the buzzword is a method of gaining attention. Although buzzwords may be important “sounding” they are rarely a necessary part of the dialogue. A buzzword is typically not a critical part of a sentence and therefore generally not needed. In fact, there was a time when we didn’t need to circle-back.  Buzzwords negate the critical component of leadership authenticity. Authenticity does not come from using “trendy and fashionable” words. It comes from you, your heart and your style. 

The time has come to give some of these overused buzzwords a break

  1. Circle-back – it does not even sound like normal conversation
  2. Pivot – Is anyone else reminded of Ross on Friends? Pivot. PIVOT. PIVOT.
  3. Move the needle – in my day, if you moved the needle, you scratched the vinyl
  4. Unpack – are we home from a trip?
  5. Bandwidth – this applies to internet usage. Period.

It is time to have grown up conversations. We are professional business leaders. Why should we resort to using words that are a cliche?

Search for your authentic self

Finally, I will end my buzzword rant with this…If you are working to develop your leadership skills, avoid getting caught in a big buzzword trap.  Work on authenticity. Work on your authentic self. When you are genuine, you do not need to dazzle with buzzwords and can speak from your heart and soul to your teams. Teams do not engage if the conversation feels fake.  Keep that in mind.