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Top 10 Worst Business Buzzwords/Phrases


I think everyone who is involved in business at any level can agree, that people change. You could be chatting to someone at a bar one evening, talking about sports, music, etc. But as soon as you see that guy tomorrow at work, he feels like he needs to talk like ‘a business man’.

I find this so fake, I don’t think we should all feel obliged to adopt a different language just because you’re wearing a suit, or sitting in an office. However I think it is fair to say that to some extent we can all be guilty of the occasional slip! So this post is dedicated to all those people who transform into a walking business buzzword cliche as soon as they cross the office threshold. We are going to go over our 10 favourite/worst business buzzwords and phrases.

1. Best of Breed

Unless your business involves dogs, you are banned from this phrase.

2. Going Forward

Were we going backwards before you said that?

3. Take this Offline

Are we that cemented to our computers, that just talking normally or meeting for a chat is now referred to as ‘taking this offline’.

4. Let’s Touch Base

Who is base, and why are we touching him?

5. Actioning

Why in business do we refer to doing something as ‘actioning’. If your wife asked you to get her a cup of tea would you say ‘Let me action that’?!

6. 2.0

Come up with an idea, why not refer to it as idea 2.0.

7. Drill Down

Do we have a mining department? I’m confused.

8. Paradigm Shift

Are we in a sci-fi movie? What are you talking about?!

9. Let’s Marinate On This

Oh, so we’re like meat now?

10. Thinking Outside the Box

What box?! Are we in a box? Who put us in this box?

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  1. Great piece — fun topic to write about, because there’s just so much jargon out there in business communications. The one that sticks with me most is “action” as a verb… Why do people think it makes them sound smart if they use verbs as nouns and nouns as verbs? My favorite is “solution,” as in, “That’s the problem — so how are we going to solution that?”

    I got a text from a friend at a conference. She wrote: “Word du jour: ‘stakeholdering.’ ” I asked her for the context and she said she thinks it’s supposed to mean “relationship building.” That’s as good a guess as any. I topped an earlier post on the “buzzword generator,” which is here, if anyone’s interested in more fun with this: