Annoyingly "Viral" Office Buzzwords

Survey reveals workplaces most annoying buzzwords

By Stacy Morrow
|  Friday, Sep 11, 2009  |  Updated 8:07 PM EDT
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Annoyingly "Viral" Office Buzzwords

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Today's most over used and abused office buzzwords are more effective at prompting eye rolls rather than real action, according to an Accountemps executive.

“When business or industry terms become overused, people stop paying attention to them,” said Accounttemps Chairman Max Messmer, who is the author of Managing Your Career For Dummies.

The staffing firm asked 150 senior executives from the nation’s 1,000 largest companies, “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today?”

Many of this year's words like "synergy," "on the same page" and "think outside the box" were also noted as exhausted in a 2004 survey. 

These are 2009's office buzzwords that need to be retired:   

  •  Leverage: As in, “We intend to leverage our investment in IT infrastructure across multiple business units to drive profits.” 
  •  Reach out: As in, “Remember to reach out to customers impacted by the change.” 
  •  It is what it is: As in, “The server is down today, and clients are irate. It is what it is.” 
  •  Viral: As in, “Our video has gone viral.” 
  •  Game changer: As in, “Transitioning from products to solutions was a game changer for our company.” 
  •  Disconnect: As in, “There is a disconnect between what the consumer wants and what the product provides.” 
  •  Value-add: As in, “We have to evaluate the value-add of this activity before we spend more on it.” 
  •  Circle back: As in, “I’m heading out of the office now, but I will circle back with you later.” 
  •  Socialize: As in, “We need to socialize this concept with our key stakeholders.” 
  •  Interface: As in, “My job requires me to interface with all levels of the organization.” 
  •  Cutting edge: As in, “Our cutting-edge technology gives us a competitive advantage.”

While everyone is guilty of using buzzwords from time to time, a little imagination can go a long way toward illustrating your point, Messmer said.

"Professionals are evaluated increasingly on their ability to communicate," he said. "Avoiding overused terms, particularly in formal communication, can help workers more effectively convey their message.”

Did the survey miss any?  Share your "most hated" buzzwords in the comments below.

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