Egad! It's a swarm of corporate buzzwords! They look mean, but do they have meaning?

Egad! It’s a swarm of corporate buzzwords! They look mean, but do they have meaning?

Have you ever read a company announcement and realized that, although it seems to say a lot, you have no idea what it means?

Dear ARoundTuit Fans,
As you may know, the ARoundTuit Company is on a burning platform. It’s time to move the needle by focusing on core competencies.To that effect, we’re going to be sending in S.W.A.T. Teams over the next quarter. There will be lots of moving parts as we approach a paradigm shift to our core values. It’s time to focus on synergy and peel the onion to find deliverables. As we drill down, we ask for your patience; some swim lanes will be changed. It’s all part of getting our ducks in a row, but we’re going to make hay and ensure that everyone gets ARoundTuit.

Arthur T. Blabberbutt, CEO

Holy mixed metaphors and confounded clichés, Batman! Business communications should present ideas clearly, not use a bunch of buzzwords in a bid to sound brainy.

While industry-specific jargon is sometimes appropriate, buzzwords just sound flip. Readers pick up on it right away, you’ll leave them feeling either confused or annoyed, and the intended message will be lost.

At Hollister Creative, our word gurus writers like to think outside the box come up with original ideas to leverage use the English language impactfully effectively and communicate clearly. Here are three writing rules we always follow:

  1. DO look for a clearer way to express a concept if you’re considering a buzzword.
  2. DO use industry jargon or acronyms when appropriate to show an industry audience you speak their language.
  3. DON’T try to make content sound more intelligent by using buzzwords. The effect will be just the opposite.


Buzzword Matching Game

Can you match the buzzword with its meaning?

1. Core competencyA. Your usual work duties, responsibilities
2. Core valuesB. Impending crisis, a mess
3. Swim laneC. Get work done
4. Move the needleD. When cooperation produces a greater effect than working solo
5. S.W.A.T. TeamE. Figure out a problem
6. Lots of moving partsF. Get organized
7. Burning platformG. Approach a problem from a different angle
8. Make hayH. Improve performance
9. Think outside the boxI. A fundamental change
10. Paradigm shiftJ. Results
11. SynergyK. A specialized team, usually refers to corporate types brought in to solve a problem
12. Peel the onionL. Your specialization
13. DeliverablesM. Examine in depth
14. Ducks in a rowN. A complicated situation
15. Drill downO. The foundations of a business’ culture


Click here for the answers!

Share This