Let’s leverage our core competencies!

Whatever happened to speaking concisely and saying what you mean?

Oh, wait, I know: Business-speak happened.

I’ve been in one too many meetings lately where a speaker gets so bogged down in biz-speak jargon that it’s practically impossible to understand the point.

Granted, this isn’t a book-related post — but as a reader, I’m pretty sensitive to the use and abuse of language, and I’ve just about reached my limit when it comes to listening to people mangle the English language.

Here are a few gems that a certain coworker has been using again and again and AGAIN. (These are practically verbal tics. It’s like he uses a phrase, and enjoys it so much that he uses it twelve more times. Sometimes during the same conversation.)

  • Moving the needle — as in, “we’re trying to move the needle on customer engagement”. How about just saying “improve”?
  • Clearing the decks — um, do you mean finish what we’re working on?
  • Thought partners — no idea on this one.
  • Thinking outside the envelope — mixed metaphors much?
  • Many questions that I want to seed — okay, that sounds a bit gross.
  • We have a playbook of options — ugh, sports metaphors in the workplace.
  • Low hanging fruit — used four times in a one-hour meeting!
  • Where there’s smoke, there’s fire — used twice in the same meeting.
  • Pinch points — I can’t even.

There are also buzzwords — nothing wrong with them in and of themselves — but used constantly, they’ve become practically meaningless. Like…

  • collegial
  • collaborative
  • world view

And then there are the words that are perfectly fine, except when they’re misused or overused, such as:

  • Mitigate — Apparently, every problem ever faced needs to be mitigated.
  • Craft — Nothing is ever written or created. “Can you craft a memo?” “I’m crafting a message about the project.” How very crafty it all sounds.
  • Disperse — as in “we serve a very disperse clientele”. Um, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

On the plus side, at least we’ve finally gotten certain folks to stop saying the oh-so-redundant “new innovations”!

I could go on… but I think you get the point.

Do you run across jargon abusers in your daily life? Have you heard anything lately that really drives you insane?

Please share… let’s commiserate!

Or better yet… let’s engage in a collaborative process to craft a thoughtweb! Argh.