“Corporate Speak”: Updating the Buzzword Baedeker

Corporate buzzwords
Corporate buzzwords: Meaningless blather, signifying nothing.

All of us are familiar with them: jargon words and phrases that have become so overused, they’re nothing more than meaningless noise.

These are the so-called “descriptive” terms that are meant to add flavor and emphasis to a particular subject, but are more likely to make you want to roll your eyes – or maybe even reach for the nearest comfort bag.

Traditionally, the worst offenders have been high technology companies and other B-to-B firms when it comes buzzwords. But we’ve been seeing the phenomenon leech into consumer categories as well, such as automobiles and healthcare services.

Even worse, we’re now seeing a new generation of buzzwords coming to light, joining the veteran terms that have been plaguing us for years now.

Some of the old standbys are still overused today, unfortunately.  They include terms like:

  • Cutting-edge
  • Flexible
  • Next generation (or the too-cute variation NextGen)
  • Out-of-the-box
  • Partnering
  • Robust
  • Seamless
  • Solutions provider
  • Synergies
  • Toolbox
  • Turnkey
  • Value-added
  • World-class

Today, one may be more likely to encounter a crop of more contemporary-sounding – but equally obnoxious – phrases such as these:

  • Best-of-breed
  • Best practices
  • Core competency
  • Groundbreaking
  • Integrated
  • Mission-critical
  • Scalable
  • Thought leader

Much as we’d like for these buzzwords to just go away quietly, that’s hardly likely. And there’ll be plenty more new ones to come along in the future.

In fact, marketing strategist David Meerman Scott and others are already taking a stab at predicting tomorrow’s new buzz terms. You can view one such prediction here.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any buzz-cuts in the offing when it comes to lowering the level of “corporate noise” out there, however welcome that might be …

So if you can’t beat ’em … join ’em.  Are there any particularly irritating buzz terms you encounber that aren’t noted above?  Post a comment and let’s see what we can add to the list.