Have you read those “words not to use” business articles?

Good, here’s another one!

Every time I’m in a meeting with a client or internally, I continue to hear people say “low hanging fruit “, “quick win”, “at the end of the day”, I feel like I die a little bit on the inside.

These buzzwords make us look foolish, it sounds like we really don’t know what we’re talking about and we just want to quickly say something to look important in a meeting. In this article,  I intend to explain the buzzwords that I’ve heard, and some alternatives that you can start using today!  We want to look intelligent in-front of our clients, not like some corporate misfit that’s been around the block so many times that they do not know where they are.

  • Low hanging fruit = Straight forward solutions
  • At the end of the day = Ultimately (NOTE: Ultimately is less letters than “At the end of the day”, it is easier to say, so start doing it!)
  • Quick win = Simple fix
  • Holistically = Integrated
  • Boil the ocean = Out of scope
  • Organically = Naturally (save this one for the grocery store, we don’t care)

In addition, I also find that some people like to use the word “right “over and over again while explaining people, process and technology.  In my mind the use of this word repeatedly tells me that you are trying to prove yourself and trying to prove that what you are saying is correct. If you have confidence you do not need to use this word 10,000 times in five minutes. I do believe some behavioral experts may consider this an influencing tactic, but I think it can be perceived as moronic.

In addition, please, please, please use proper grammar.

If the word you want to say is “beginning” but you say “beg’n”, you will lose respect and your audience will tune out.  Properly annunciate and use your words appropriately, then you will earn respect of your coworkers, team, and clients. Some of these communication no-no’s may come out of our mouths without conscious effort simply because we’ve been using them for so long.

We improperly conditioned ourselves, like a bad dog.  So, in your next meeting, I challenge you to wiggle your toes from the beginning to the end of the discussion.  This activity will force your brain to be present and more mindful of your communication during the meeting, and it will make you feel more grounded. It may even help you to notice when you say potentially damaging statements.  “At the end of the day, we need to tackle our problems holistically and organically but we do not want to boil the ocean, we want to tackle that low hanging fruit!’

What nasty little business jargon have you heard lately?


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