5 Ways Buzzwords Kill Everything

 In Creativity

It’s Monday morning. Gathered ‘round the conference table, your boss announces:

Moving forward, team, we’re going to have to start thinking outside the box, I mean, we’ve really got to flesh out an effective strategy for Q1.”

“I think it would also be helpful to zero in on a holistic approach,” your colleague chimes in, “and perhaps scope out the competition in order to circle back to the paradigm shift.”

Collective nods.

“That’s right. Let’s streamline the process so that by the EOD we can touch base and hit the ground running tomorrow. Sound good?”

Erm, what? Am I missing something? You’re normally pretty good with words, yet they seem to have turned on you. Or rather, we seem to have collectively beaten them to an unrecognizable pulp.

You can’t help but wonder – how do I leverage this elephant in the room?


1. It’s contagious.

You’re having a conversation. The first minute you’re fine, a completely rational human being with thoughts and ideas, able to communicate with others clearly. But then the first buzz hits your ears. Instantly you buzz back. It’s like a game of tag. You share a volley of words, back and forth. And then suddenly, it’s minute ten and there’s so much buzzing between your ears that you’re five minutes away from redrafting your marketing strategy. It’s been realigned to new core values that read “HISS – Hustle, Innovation, Seamless, Synergy.” Once enough buzzwords infect your speech it becomes harder to communicate with your audience.


2. Buzzwords eventually lose their meaning.

When you get down to brass tacks, corporate synergy can have a substantial effect on an organization’s core competency, thinking outside the box may be outside of their wheelhouse. But if companies are unable to get all of their ducks in a row for their elevator pitch, that affects their bottom line.

Over time, they become more buzz, less word. We use them to either be “in” with an industry or explain something we think vaguely connects and ultimately we start to grimace at how cliché it all sounds. Especially across industries and outside of the office setting.


3. Confusing Acronyms

We may need an RFP ASAP for R&D on the ROI of OTC DMP solutions. Possibly an AI that can QC SMEs on the beach wordsmithing for B2C Mar TECH, y’know?

Most businesses agree that acronyms are a great way to communicate internally. Just make sure you’re using standardized acronyms and not ones you’ve just made up. This is the one of those times where you want to do what everyone else is doing. But outside corporate culture you may want to steer clear from using them too much.


4. Superfluous

You always want to break through the clutter. Always keep in mind the sustainability of constant engagement. Whenever possible, mindshares should be streamlined to run like a business. Unpacking the impact should not be the new normal. Agility with a clear exit strategy is a win-win.

Short and concise is more effective.


5. Laziness

feel free not to ping me. NRN.

It’s easy to give in, to take the easy route and spit out some choice words that still have some buzz left in them. But that’s an urge you have to fight if you want to communicate effectively. Truly powerful ideas are timeless and can pierce any word cloud.


In the end, buzzwords are not all bad. They are a powerful tool used to clarify or obscure meaning. They can elevate perceived insights, illustrate a complex idea, quickly create rapport, and help build a strong corporate culture. Just don’t overdo it.