The 120 most annoying business phrases and buzzwords of 2021

Corporate Slang, Phrases and more

When I started this list of buzzwords, I had every intention of making this a semi-serious look into the vague and often annoying world of office speak. However, after about 20 minutes of writing this article, it became impossible to keep the desired tone.

As a result, below is merely an attempt at understanding the corporate worlds most useless and/or overused terms. For the convenience of the reader, I have arranged the terms alphabetically and added notes when and where I think they will be required.

    • ACTIONABLE ANALYTICS: Relevant data, with the correct context. Marketing teams have a terrible understanding of this. Finance teams are far better
    • ACTIONEER: Meant to signify a person taking action
    • ADVERTAINMENT: Daily Mail
    • AGILE: This should equate to the agile principles, but rarely does
    • ALIGNS and ALIGNMENT: I agree, this term is terrible
    • AT CAPACITY: Meaning the person, or team is too lazy to undertake another task or project
    • AUTHENTIC: If you think about it (even briefly), everything can and is authentic in one way, or another
    • BAKED IN: Finance people love this. Nobody else does
    • BANDWIDTH: Used to mean something. Now more commonly used as a HR whinge, or excuse
    • BANG FOR BUCK: Its mainly about return on investment (ROI), however it is often used to signify that X is merely cheaper than Y
    • BEST IN CLASS: To clarify, if this is used then it likely isn’t
    • BLEEDING-EDGE: Entirely unproven
    • BLUE SKY THINKING: Wasting time in an office, or better still in a coffee shop or on a jolly
    • BRAIN FART: When a person makes a mistake in stupid public and seeks to write it off so that others do not immediately pass judgement
    • BRAINDUMP: Just an unfiltered mess of mixed up thoughts, half concepts and terrible ideas
    • BRAINSTORM: See above
      BRAND IDENTITY: Branding people are obsessive about the values associated to the product yet to be built, or failing to sell
    • BREAK BREAD: Hello team, I’m here to ruin your day
    • BREAKING VIEWS: Meant to be about changing peoples minds (I think)
    • BRING TO THE TABLE: Offer it up
    • BUY IN: To convince
    • CASCADING INFORMATION: Herd behaviour for dummies
    • CIRCLE BACK: Lets not do it now
    • CLOSING THE LOOP: Follow up on the discussion
    • CUSTOMER CENTRIC: Marketing and product development terminology used to bulk up presentations to their bosses, highlighting that they have thought (deeply) about the desires of the client, or prospective customer
    • CUSTOMER JOURNEY: Again, marketing nonsense used by people with too much time in order to identify how they purchase and then use the product/service being acquired
    • DEBRIEF: Ask questions after the event. Normally used to tell subordinates off
    • DEEP DIVE: Look into the detai
    • DEEP INNOVATION: Yes, its just innovation, with the word deep in-front of it
    • DESIGN THINKING: Pictures and words
    • DISRUPTIVE and DISRUPTOR: Bland and lazy 21st century marketing speak
    • DON’T LET THE GRASS GROW: Stop wasting time
    • FLESH OUT: Gather more detail
    • FRICTIONLESS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: For the record, this means less notification and a more opaque solution. Just kidding…
    • FURIOUS AGREEMENT: Used by zeroes at local branches of large consultancies and financial institutions, folk genuinely puke at this one
    • GAME CHANGER: Its unlikely to make any difference, but lets pretend it will
    • GAME PLAN: Planning for dummies
    • GET SHIT DONE: The person spouting this is always bureaucratic, normally talentless and never gets anything done. Quite willing and able to take credit for others hard work and skill set though. Inept managerialism personified in a phrase
    • GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW: Lining things up
    • GROWTH HACKER: Knows nothing about anything
    • GURU: Same as a Growth Hacker and Ninja
    • HACK: Less than full understanding of something. Just copy and paste something/anything and pass it off as their own
    • HELICOPTER VIEW: Do not understand, or do not want to understand much of the detail
    • HIT THE GROUND RUNNING: Time to get started, minus training
    • HOLISTIC APPROACH: A collection of the disparate. Folk hope will work out for the best
    • HYPERLOCAL: Community
    • IMAGINEER: Rabid way of describing someone with an imagination, but without the skillset to action it
    • IN THE PIPELINE: Coming soon. Or maybe not…
    • INFLUENCER: Unemployed social media addict and/or blogger
    • INFOTAINMENT: Daily Mail
    • IT IS WHAT IT IS: An admittance of failure. Often with a tone of regret
    • JACK: To steal, or hijack something
    • JOINED UP THINKING: You think it makes sense
    • JUMP SHIP: Resign
    • LEAN IN: Unapologetic
    • LEARNINGS: Things
    • LEVEL UP: Learn something new and become slightly better
    • LIMITLESS: It is probably intangible in terms of the benefit(s) it offers
    • LOOK UNDER THE BONNET: Try to understand ‘stuff’
    • LOOP IN: Connect to someone
    • LOW-HANGING FRUIT: Prioritise the easy
    • MAKE HAY WHILST THE SUN SHINES: Make the best of things right now, because Winter is coming and the person has zero faith in the long-term viability of the product/service
    • META: Everything is meta. Nothing is meta
    • MOVE THE NEEDLE: Measurable gain
    • MOVING PARTS: Its too complicated
    • MUMPRENEUR: Really patronising of mums. You are either an entrepreneur, or not
    • NINJA: The person describing themselves, or being described by others in this way is probably not a proponent of the ancient Japanese martial art of Ninjitsu. Just sayin’
    • NO BRAINER: Its obvious
    • OFF PISTE: Not in the plan, per se
    • OFFLOAD: The person, or team probably doesn’t want to be participating, or involved with whatever this is
    • OMNICHANNEL: Just another cross-channel content strategy
    • ON THE RADAR or ON MY RADAR: To translate, this means the person either completely forgot about it, or is attempting to forget about it
    • OPEN DOOR POLICY: My door is not closed, merely ajar and I will tolerate you until I nod my head, or stand up
    • OPTICS: Others may judge me harshly for this. Lets just manipulate everyone and pretend instead
    • PAIN POINTS: Problems
    • PEEL THE ONION: Attempt to solve a problem, by identifying the issues/drivers one at a time
    • PERSONAL JOURNEY: They have made a ton of mistakes
    • PING: Click send
    • PIONEERING: Basic copy
    • PIVOT TO THAT IDEA: I’ve changed my mind
    • PUNCH A PUPPY: Testing an ideas popularity
    • PUNT: Guess
    • PUSH IT BACK: Not interested. Not happening
    • PUSHBACK: See above
    • PUT A RECORD ON AND SEE WHO DANCES
    • REACH OUT: Actually try to talk to, or send an Email to
    • REINVENT THE WHEEL: Normally uttered by the frustrated. Building the basic from scratch
    • RIGHT? Extraordinarily annoying and patronising to the recipient
    • ROBUST: Strength
    • SIDE HUSTLE: Person likely spends most of their time doing this, whilst being paid by you to do something different
    • SINGING FROM THE SAME HYMN SHEET: We agree
    • SKILLAGE: Skill set
    • SNACKABLE CONTENT: Just short-form content
    • SOLOMO: Social+Local+Mobile marketing for the not so cool kids
    • SPECIAL SAUCE: Something you think is unique that makes you, or your product/service/solution special. Hint: It likely isn’t
    • SQUARE THE CIRCLE: Do the impossible. Hint: nothing is impossible
    • STORYSCAPING: Experiences
    • STRATEGIC STAIRCASE: I just puked
    • STRATEGISE: Should be something else, but often just meetings for meetings sake
    • STREAMLINED: Minimal
    • SWAT TEAM: Problem-solving team, often employed to fire fight issues caused by others
    • SWEEP THE SHEDS: Taking responsibility for ‘stuff’
    • SYNERGY AND SYNERGISTIC:
    • TAKE IT OFFLINE: Don’t waste time talking about this now
    • THE BOTTOM LINE: Earnings per share
    • THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX: A cover phrase for basic thoughts, that likely do not make immediate sense
    • TOUCH BASE: They’ll try to call you. Its possible they will forget. However, its also possible that the person will continue to call you and make appointments to look busy to the boss
    • TRIBE: A related cohort
    • UNCONCIOUS BIAS: This is a new entry. Terrifyingly common within larger corporates, with new training courses being created hourly. HR professionals love using this as a method of control, but are terrified of it being used against them by staff
    • UNPACK: They likely either fail to understand, but are too scared to say so; or are attempting to prove to others that they are (once again) correct… and here is why
    • UP THE LADDER: Seeking promotion, or garnering an advantage
    • UPLEVEL: Improve in skill and/or performance
    • VISIONARY: The person, or team uses this in order to self-aggrandise either themselves, or their product/service
    • WANTRAPRENEUR: Someone that wants to be an entrepreneur, but will never have the guts to try. Often found at large consultancies, NFP’s or local offices of large corporates
    • WASH ITS OWN FACE: Will eventually justify its own existence and/or role
    • WHEELHOUSE: Interest area, or expertise. Often used to ‘Pass the Buck’
    • WIN-WIN: Its normally not a win-win. Its normally about exploiting an opportunity and offering some value in return
    • WORLD-CLASS: When used this almost always equates to regular and/or standard quality
Related Article:
What happens next when societal changes hit the workplace?

Apart from the words and phrases I have included above. Lets not forget the million acronym’s out there. Please keep these to a minimum. They are both confusing for the majority of people… and extremely annoying.

 

Share This Post