Recently I have become OVERWHELMED by the maddening overuse of clichés, catch phrases, and buzzwords. So much so, that I posted this to my Facebook wall:
Our Lady of Hopeless Buzzwords and Sorrowful Clichés- Help me to stay silent and stoic as I endure hearing people say "outside the box", and similarly maddening phrases, over and over and over, each day. Amen.
I got some great responses and then I knew- THIS is the topic for the first interactive blog post!
I have been waiting for the perfect discussion for my first stab at an interactive blog post- Which means, I wanted to write a blog post that I could post responses from friends, associates and social media connections. Facebook is the perfect platform for this type of discussion.
Below I have captured the comments and opinions of the individuals listed. I have provided a short “blurb” about each of them to give their comments context. NOTICE: I used a buzz- word, “blurb”. More on that later.
So, without further ado, THE INTERACTIVE BLOG!!
Karen Burch, Writer and Editor at “WayPoints by Karen Burch”-
I cannot stand "jargon"...things people say just to sound cool.
One of my personal unfavorite is: “Ah-ha moment”.
"Transparent!" Hate it.
“Authentic”. Hate it.
Kustancy is an "online journalist". Her blog is called Play Anon. -
As a journalist, you can imagine how often I run across this sh*t - from publicists (who are especially guilty of over-using tired jargon and boring cliches) to fellow digi-scribes...
Nate Brookshire, Assistant Professor at Colorado State University, Co-Author of “Hidden Wounds: A Soldier’s Burden, and blogger -
The current overused phrase for me is "second and third order effects."
Here is an excerpt from one of our manuals that is one of the many that use the phrase.
Field Manual 6-22
Chapter 6 - "Mental agility is a flexibility of mind, a tendency to anticipate or adapt to uncertain or changing situations. Agility assists thinking through second- and third-order effects when current decisions or actions are not producing the desired effects. It helps break from habitual thought patterns, to improvise when faced with conceptual impasses, and quickly apply multiple perspectives to consider new approaches or solutions."
Originally the phrase was used as an illustration to describe tactical decisions that impacted the operational and strategic spheres.
A good example of this is the Strategic Corporal. There are many examples of tactical decisions that have had "second and third order effects."
We use this term A LOT and I am one of the biggest offenders.
Aida Rasulova, a close person friend and
professional linguist -
“Cerebral”- because “Intelligent “is not good enough anymore.
Chelsea Hickey is a social media and email marketing strategist who blogs about everything you're thinking, but afraid to say.
“Totes Adorbs” – Apparently means totally adorable. Abbreviations are getting out of control.
"I know, right?" – Does this really need an explanation? Actually, it probably does. Are you asking for confirmation that you know something?
In the workplace, "Specifically", has become so overused and a big buzzword. You don't need to preface anything with specifically, rarely are you really giving specifics.
“Expert”, “guru”, and anything else of the sort, that will make someone sound high and mighty. Most recently, social media experts and gurus”. No. I doubt it. I am a social media strategist, for real.
“ROI” – Total buzzword with minimal understanding.
“Close of business” and “End of the Day” – Enough, just tell me when you need something. I don't know when you close or the end of your day is. Do you really want me to get you something by 11:59? Too often do people try to sound high and mighty via email?
Debbie Oliveri, A former co-worker -
Dano DeBroux is a self-described, "Subversive Innovator and fan of all things blinky." -
Most Over-used IT Buzz Word: The Cloud (oh, that's TWO words...)
Clyde Willoughby is a childhood friend who works in internet industry -
"It is what it is." Nearly always used by people who don't have the faintest idea "what IT is". It's kinda like "my bad" in some ways regarding difficult situations, like an avoidance of acknowledgement at any depth.
Tom McCuin, Strategic Communication and Government Relations Expert currently working as a contractor for the Department of Defense -
“Dialog” used as a verb. It makes the speaker sound like a new-age guru wannabe. Drives me around the bend.
Mike Jason, an Army officer in Afghanistan with 17 years of experience -
“Synergy”. It means nothing, but used all the time.
“Win-win" situation; like anyone wants to lose.
“Gain some "atmospherics."
And when you have absolutely nothing intelligent to say, just say, "Huah."
James Black- “Not so undercover Police Officer”for an undisclosed jurisdiction -
Funny, I always get punished by my establishment because I am non-conformist.
Anna Sargent, College Student, Mom to a beautiful four year old (my granddaughter!) -
“I beg your pardon.” I don’t use any of these nonsense words and phrases.
When people overuse the word, "right??" Like they are asking a question.
“Honestly”, “literally”, “awesome,” “yolo,” “hella.” Those are just a few that set me off!
Stephanie Chenault is the COO of Venio Inc., whose consultants serve as advisors to inform the development of policy, doctrine, and plans across the DOD -
"Set the condition(s) .Its a buzz-phrase used in ARSTAFF frequently and across DoD .
It's not that the phrase is bad, per se, just worn out!
And “apprised”and “appraised” used interchangeably.
Traci Ault, Long-time friend and all-around expert -
Well, if I hear another person use the word "literally" who does not know what it means, I might shout obscenities.
I'm thinking hard, but I don't think I use any of those catch phrases. I'm not in a nine-to-five office environment, though, so that might help. In my line of work there's a lot of "team player" use, which I avoid at all costs. It ain't baseball. I'm guilty of the incorrect use of the word "awesome," and probably say "okay" and "I know" too much. Verbal laziness.
I hate "proven track record”." Is there a track?! If so, how did I miss seeing it? Who's keeping this record? I just picture some guy with clipboard and a stopwatch following guys around the office taking notes. "Good sale, Jim. Now, if you just shave a few seconds off your 100 meter dash time.”
Deanna Weber Prine, A Research Program
“Metaphorically speaking” or “in a nutshell” are used a lot here.
And my own dear husband, David Miller, provided a great quote -
Therefore a phrase is not in itself a buzzword: it becomes one in the context of inappropriate usage or usage with an ulterior motive.
I hope these comments have been as enlightening and amusing to everyone who reads this as they were to me.