people in meeting
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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. Alignment: I want to make sure we’re in alignment about…

  2. Back Pocket: Let’s keep that in our back pocket…

  3. Bandwidth: Do you have the bandwidth for an additional project?

  4. Boots on the Ground: Let’s get some boots on the ground to see…

  5. Circle Back: I wanted to circle back on…

  6. Close the Loop: Let’s close the loop on this during…

  7. Deep Dive: We’ll do a deep dive when we…

  8. Disrupt: We have an opportunity to disrupt the industry with…

  9. Hard Stop: I have a hard stop on this meeting at 3PM.

  10. Impactful: To make this more impactful, let’s…

  11. Ink the Deal: Let’s ink the deal over lunch.

  12. Leverage: We can leverage this unique position to…

  13. Line in the Sand: We need to draw a clear line in the sand…

  14. Lockstep: Let’s make sure we’re in lockstep about…

  15. Messaging: We need to be crystal clear with our messaging…

  16. Move the Needle: This effort will move the needle…

  17. Offline: Let’s take this discussion offline.

  18. On your radar: I wanted to put this project back on your radar

  19. Out of the Box: Our team has some really out of the box ideas…

  20. Paradigm Shift: There’s been a significant paradigm shift in…

  21. Piggybacking: Piggybacking off of what Susan just said…

  22. Ping Me: Ping me when you know what the deadline is.

  23. Pivot: We need to pivot to focus on…

  24. Synergy: There’s a natural synergy between…

  25. Table This: We’ll have to table this for later.

  26. Toolkit: That’s a skill we should have in our toolkit

  27. Touch Base: We can touch base over lunch.

  28. Unpack: Let’s unpack these ideas…

  29. Utilize: We should utilize every resource…

  30. Very Unique: Jason 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!