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7 business-speak words the office is better off without

Every office has that one person – the annoying jargon-talker who can't stop using the latest fashionable terms to look super clever.

If you can't think of that person, it's probably you.

Here are 7 annoying business buzzwords the office is probably better off without...


1. Action/ Actionable

The world of business, for all its great points, has an unfortunate habit of over-hyping simple tasks by giving them exciting and dynamic-sounding names. 

And this is probably the zenith of the "make us sound important by using fancy words" philosophy.

Instead of saying "can you action that?” you could maybe try to the slightly more succinct "can you do that?" instead.


2. Paradigm

Speaking of "make us sound important by using fancy words", here's another emerging favourite in the "blue sky thinking" meeting room. 

The dictionary definition of paradigm is "a pattern or model", so you can be sure that anyone caught saying it is simply trying to make their point sound cleverer than it really is. 

George Orwell famously said: "Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent." If only more people remembered this. 

3. "Think outside the box"


Time for a golden oldie now. The strange thing is, despite the fact that this phrase is universally met with eye rolling, its usage persists. 

The phrase means to simply think differently and come up with something totally original. Unfortunately, as we all know, that's much easier said than done. 

Telling someone to think outside the box is about as helpful as telling them to simply "come up with a £1m idea by lunchtime" or to "increase staff but reduce the wage bill." 

4. Ninja

For some reason, it now seems whenever somebody demonstrates expertise in something, you have to call them a ninja. 

Got a great front end developer in your organisation? You've got a "web ninja" on your hands, apparently! 
Let's be honest, they're sitting at their computer typing like the rest of us.  See also: Wizard, guru and rockstar. 

5. Scalable

Unless you're a cat burglar or a parkour tutor, the question "is this scalable?" probably shouldn't ever be uttered. 

Like with most of the words and phrases on this list, a much simpler, less blustery alternative will always suffice. For example: "is this possible?", or "can we do this?"

6. "It is what it is"

In other breaking news, water is wet, grass is green, and everybody in the meeting room just stopped listening to you. 

7. 110%

Ah, a true classic – the gold standard of well-meaning yet illogical business speak. If you bought the "Business Speak 101" textbook, this would be on the first page of chapter 1.

Never mind the fact that it's mathematically illogical to give more than 100 per cent, the problem stems from just how mind-numbingly ubiquitous this phrase has become.

From professional footballers with obscenely big knots in their ties to Apprentice contestants who get fired in the second week, it seems that absolutely everyone, at some point, has claimed to have given 110 per cent.

Annoyed everybody in your office? Get a new job!

 
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