30 Buzzword-y Phrases You Should Cut From Your Vocabulary (Like, Right Now)

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I clicked open an email from a client and was met with a note that looked like this:

I’m hoping you have the bandwidth to take on an additional project. We’re trying to make sure our messaging is aligned with the sales team. We think that will really move the needle for us, so I’m pinging you with these extra resources.

Are you cringing?

Alright, admittedly I’m exaggerating a little bit (just chalk it up to exercising my creative license as a journalist). If anybody managed to cram that many buzzwords into three short sentences, I’d promptly throw my computer out the window.

However, I’m still willing to bet that you’ve been on the receiving end of messages that looked or sounded a lot like that one.

Yes, there’s plenty of buzzy jargon and seemingly pithy metaphors that we think help us get our point across. But, in reality? They just make everybody around us grit their teeth and clench their fists.

With that in mind, we wanted to know from our readers: What buzzwords and phrases are you sick of hearing in the office? Let me tell you—you didn’t hold back when responding.

Here are 30 different buzzwords and phrases that need to be kicked to the curb—immediately.

And The Most Annoying Buzzwords Are…

  1. AlignmentI want to make sure we’re in alignment about…
  2. Back PocketLet’s keep that in our back pocket…
  3. BandwidthDo you have the bandwidth for an additional project?
  4. Boots on the GroundLet’s get some boots on the ground to see…
  5. Circle BackI wanted to circle back on…
  6. Close the LoopLet’s close the loop on this during…
  7. Deep DiveWe’ll do a deep dive when we…
  8. DisruptWe have an opportunity to disrupt the industry with…
  9. Hard StopI have a hard stop on this meeting at 3PM.
  10. ImpactfulTo make this more impactful, let’s…
  11. Ink the DealLet’s ink the deal over lunch.
  12. LeverageWe can leverage this unique position to…
  13. Line in the SandWe need to draw a clear line in the sand…
  14. LockstepLet’s make sure we’re in lockstep about…
  15. MessagingWe need to be crystal clear with our messaging…
  16. Move the NeedleThis effort will move the needle…
  17. OfflineLet’s take this discussion offline.
  18. On your radarI wanted to put this project back on your radar
  19. Out of the BoxOur team has some really out of the box ideas…
  20. Paradigm ShiftThere’s been a significant paradigm shift in…
  21. PiggybackingPiggybacking off of what Susan just said…
  22. Ping MePing me when you know what the deadline is.
  23. PivotWe need to pivot to focus on…
  24. SynergyThere’s a natural synergy between…
  25. Table ThisWe’ll have to table this for later.
  26. ToolkitThat’s a skill we should have in our toolkit
  27. Touch BaseWe can touch base over lunch.
  28. UnpackLet’s unpack these ideas…
  29. UtilizeWe should utilize every resource…
  30. Very UniqueJason had a very unique suggestion…

What Should You Say Instead?

I know what you’re thinking now: If I need to eliminate all of those words and phrases, what the heck am I supposed to say instead?

Rest assured, not all of those terms will drive everybody equally crazy—some of them might even be the norm in your office. And, despite our best intentions, we’ll probably all still continue to use them from time to time (ahem, guilty as charged).

But, if you’re looking for alternatives to those jargon-filled sentiments, this is my best advice: Simply say what you mean.

For example, rather than terms like “utilize” or “leverage,” you could just say “use.” Or, instead of “lockstep” or “alignment,” just stick with something direct and concise like “agree.”

I know—those trendier words and phrases might make you sound way more up to snuff in your industry (and, they really all do have their time and place!). But, in the end, the clearer you can be with your communication, the better.

Did I miss any buzzwords that make you cringe? Tweet me and let me know!

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