Friday, August 28, 2009

Office Buzz, Buzz: All Talk and No Substance

During this recession period of bailouts, downsizing, pay freezes, and similar signs of doom and gloom, it’s important to circle back in the workplace and really reach out to leverage engagement among employees, and value-add whenever possible in creating cutting-edge, customer-centric solutions. It is what it is.

Does the previous paragraph sound familiar in that there are a lot of hot-topic terms and expressions used but not much is actually being communicated or clarified? All the italicized words turn out to be some of the most overused terms in the world of business jargon.

In an Accountemps telephone survey of 150 senior leaders from 1,000 of the world’s largest companies, executives were asked, “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today?"

Some examples included:

• Viral: As in, "Our video has gone viral."

• Game changer: As in, "Transitioning from products to solutions was a game changer for our company."

• Disconnect: As in, "There is a disconnect between what the consumer wants and what the product provides."

A similar survey that was conducted in 2004 had many repeated expressions and words from 2009 including “think outside the box”, “on the same page,” and “at the end of the day”, and also words such as “synergy” and “customer-centric.”

“When business or industry terms become overused, people stop paying attention to them," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. “The best communicators use clear and straightforward language that directly illustrates their points.”

At a time when organizations are doing more with less, perhaps budget cuts need to include office buzzwords.

No comments: