Business evolves. Just like the people who work at businesses and the people who businesses work for. Society is a throbbing, breathing, constantly changing thing. A few years back we underwent a particularly monumental metamorphosis where suddenly business owners, marketers, and traditionally straight-laced professionals suddenly all needed to be “hip” by using cliches and buzzwords.
CEO’s started wearing sneakers to the office (expensive sneakers, sneakers that showed their dedication to expensive and extreme sports, but sneakers none the less). Now while we have nothing against practical and comfortable (or expensive) footwear, these corporates did not stop there.
They also started to use “young” buzzwords. Maybe it’s because the digital industry itself is still so new, but suddenly we started seeing placement ads for things like “digital Jedi” and “SEO Guru”. Whereas all they really needed was a senior web developer. Yes, it’s quirky, yes, it’s fun. Yes, you want the world to know that your company is trendy. But being trendy and quirky are not what make a hardworking marketing firm or web design company.
The truth is when truly talented digital professionals see these buzzwords sprinkled liberally around your online presence, they actually throw up in their mouths a little bit. Because a talented professional knows the truth about who they are and what they do for a living, and what it takes to produce great work.
Hard work, skill, and applied knowledge are what make a great team, along with good management and open communication. We’re not saying that your team shouldn’t have fun and share great adventures together, but there are more effective ways to prove your swagger than by telling everyone “hey – I have swagger”. The best way to show your clients what you’re made of is by the results you produce for them. For your team, it’s in the quality of life and the quality of the relationships between you – regardless of whether you work together on-site in an office or if you have a digitally connected team streaming in from around the globe.
We understand that you want to communicate your personality to your potential employees and clients – but good branding tells us that the best way to do that is to live your brand.
The best thing to do is keep it natural. If you have to force the language or you wouldn’t normally use it in conversation then it shouldn’t be in your media or your speech.
10 Buzzwords and Phrases to Avoid
(and alternatives that actually make you sound like you’ve got this)
Rockstar / Ninja / Jedi
Usually used as a descriptor for any number of professionals. Call it what it really is. If you want a web developer, say “web developer”.
Giving new employees all the information they need to start work on a project. Which is also what you should call it.
Used to describe a more senior employee such as a senior web developer. Again, call it what it is.
Something new to your company. But unless it is actually going to change mankind like Martin Luther King and change the lives of millions (without them having to pay for it) it’s probably not revolutionary.
This is acceptable only when being applied to something which has literally never been achieved before. Probably best reserved for scientists working on cures for deadly diseases rather than use by corporations. It just sounds fake.
Although there is nothing technically wrong with this term it does sound as if people are going to get “touchy feely” at work. Rather say “make contact with” or I’m here, please let me know if you have anything to discuss.”
Really? This sounds like something directors on movie sets do. There is also a reason that it comes up as a spelling error – it isn’t a real word. Rather say “put into action” or “start” or “Please do this for me”.
A funny way of saying the easy route. It evokes unfortunate visuals. Rather say “the best route” or “easily achievable”. Even “easy win” is preferable.
A word used to describe people born between 1982-1994. The current young adult population in the workforce. The word has a lot of negative associations and makes professionals feel like you are calling them children. Don’t do it. Please.
The definition of synergy: the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements. It’s a very cool concept and very valid. Unfortunately, the word has been overused and is often used by people who actually mean “Synchronisation”. It’s best left alone in the workplace.
We’re the “insert famous brand here” of the “your industry” industry
For example, saying, “We’re the Uber of the Toaster Industry”, or “We’re the Starbucks of the Shoe industry”. Your positioning within your market is what you are. The leader in that market is what you are aspiring towards. Drawing these unrealistic comparisons makes your business model seem generic. It makes the speaker seem like they are incapable of articulating an original thought. Don’t do it. Please.
We all want our technology to be forward thinking and impactful (ha – impactful – there’s another awful gem), but it can’t all be life changing stuff – and that’s okay. Not all technology needs to be disruptive to be effective and successful. Only time can tell if it will change the course of modern history.
Another pet peeve among digital professionals is the abuse and overuse of the ever-growing list of acronyms. It seems like you can’t sit down in an agency meeting without someone inventing a new one. What it really says about you is that you need to assert your superior knowledge over that of your co-workers by confusing them with your (newly made up) acronyms. When in doubt, say what you mean. It’s far better to be cool than to try and look it.