Business Language Writing

Words That Sting

Buzzwords are just like bad pop stars: they appear mysteriously, gain fans like the plague spreads, and seemingly vanish; yet new ones are constantly appearing.  Why do we continuously go through this cycle?

STS has banned buzzwords.  I learned quickly that even saying “buzzword” meant trouble—someone would be on a rant soon.  So I made a list of the most-abused words with suggested alternatives.  I hope I haven’t just created the new lingo.

Leverage: Good television show, bad business word.  Try employ, use, take advantage of, or exploit.

Platform: Talk about vague.  Is it a website, program, system, source, or forum?

Utilize: Use simply “use.”  More letters don’t mean more sales.

Lean: Your processes aren’t meat.  Replace this term with conservative, conscientious, or efficient.

Drive: If this word is on your resume, sound original by replacing it with classics such as advance, control, or improve.

Synergy: This legitimate scientific term means that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  This, however, is not how people apply it to business.  Drop this term in favor of one that describes what you actually mean.

Dialogue and architect as verbs: Just no

At a loss for words?  Feeling redundant?  Go to

1 reply on “Words That Sting”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *