Nixing ‘Running This Up the Flagpole’ — How to Avoid Overusing Business Jargon

listeningWant to hit the ball out of the park after you run a big idea up the food chain? Or how about the flagpole?

According to a new Accountemps survey, managers were asked about the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzwords in the office.

Here are their top responses…

  • “Out of pocket”
  • “Deep dive”
  • “Forward-thinking”
  • “Dynamic”
  • “Let me get back to you.”
  • “Pick your brain”
  • “Employee engagement”
  • “LOL”

Now that we’ve had a little chuckle, how can we start talking without using jargon? Bill Driscoll, the New England district president of Accountemps, says for starters when business or industry terms are overused, people “stop paying attention to them.”

He explains, “The best communicators use clear and straightforward language that directly illustrates their points.”

Consider this: Almost everyone is guilty of using buzzwords from time to time, as he points out, but professionals are “evaluated increasingly on their ability to communicate.” As media professionals in particular, hey, this is our jam! We can avoid saying things like “due diligence” to get our points across more effectively.

Driscoll recommends two ways to eliminate jargon at work. The first one involves becoming aware of top buzzwords in your own office to start recognizing when you use them yourself. You may not even be aware you’re using them so frequently!

And if you and your team make it a concentrated effort, you can have fun with it, too. “If you have an office full of buzzword offenders, try something fun like creating a ‘buzzword jar.’ Whenever someone is caught using a buzzword, he or she has to contribute a quarter to the jar.”