Cliches, jargon and all-around BS

Allison Nazarian Real Life

There are still those people in business (and all over, really) who rely on cliches and what I would call “corporate speak” (sorry, Corporate People) to get their ideas across (or not across as the case may be).

I’ve found (completely unscientific opinion here) that the larger the company/corporation, the more of this nonsense gets spewed around. The smaller, nimbler companies and entrepreneurs get the job done with less meetings, less memos, less talking and more doing. (Again, sorry Corporate People. I really love you.)

Take a look at Seth Godin’s Squidoo-based Encyclopedia of Business Cliches. Here’s what Seth says about this non-language language and I agree: “…the vast majority of buzzwords exist for one reason: to hide. By obfuscating, lying, confusing or just plain avoiding the issue, business people can avoid communicating.”

Some great offenders?

  • Paradigm shift
  • Outside the box (or a more recent one, “outside the box is now so inside the box”)
  • Leverage, maximize and many other “ize”s
  • Anything value-added (shouldn’t everything you discuss or sell have value??)
  • Anything that’s scalable, out of pocket (people actually use this term on voicemails!) or pushing any envelope

Don’t feel too badly…we’re all (myself included) guilty of some of these or others. The problem is that some of them start out as great, new descriptive and really-cool-to-say phrases. But then they get so over-used, and we’ve forgotten what we said before, so we get stuck in the cliche rut.