In the world of business and the general work market, each niche tends to develop its own jargon, naturally, as a direct consequence of the particular work the people involved handle. But what about that business jargon formed outside any specific niche, the one related to just general activity, which people tend to use thinking it makes them sound more ‘professional’? Well, besides the fact that some phrases can indeed have their advantages, the truth is that few things can be more pretentious than some of the business phrases we’ve all heard around our offices. Here is our list of simply the most obnoxious 15 such phrases (true examples of useless and snobbish business jargon, if you ask us).
Alignment – instead of agreement
This isn’t about geometry, astrology, or some bogus crystal energies. So, why are we talking about mysterious alignments? People could just say they reached a new business agreement with their prospective partner in negotiations, instead of some sort of ‘alignment.’
Care and feeding – interacting with customers
The ‘care and feeding’ term refers to the minimal effort type of interaction (basic email exchanges and so on), not general customer support which can be more intensive. Still, talking about your clients as if they are animals or plants to look after is more than a little condescending making this office phrase one of the most obnoxious ever.
Client Facing – direct interaction with clients
If something involves showing your actual face to clients, it doesn’t correlate to the term ‘client-facing’. Business jargon used to be less literal and more useful before these new terms started popping up.
Come to Jesus moment – time reserved for harsh truths
In most organizations, people need to reserve special time for communicating blatant truths. While this is understandable up to some point (in order to avoid being too blunt with people in the rest of the time), there’s really no need for dramatics and the whole ceremonial. Using ‘Come to Jesus’ moment as a description of these talks is just melodramatic and, blatantly speaking, ridiculous.
Ideate – thinking or planning
Another business jargon which sounds over-the-top pretentious: no, people don’t need to ‘ideate’ in order to come up with solutions for an issue, they just need to think about it and plan.
Pain point – problem
On the same note as our no. 5, you can just name an issue ‘issue’ or a problem in your activity ‘problem’. No need to call it a ‘pain point’, unless you specifically mean to add to the pointless collection of pretentious business jargon we’re pointing out.
Rock star – praise for good employees
It’s meant to be a cute endearment term, but it’s much too overused. Also, just so we’re clear, using ‘tiger team’ for the tech support team is just as obnoxious. If you really appreciate your employees’ hard work, find other ways to express it, please.
Make it happen – a phrase meant to inspire hard work
When you need something done, just clearly set out the tasks, because if you try to find business jargon phrases meant to be inspiring, the result often backfires. This is one of those business phrases who are just annoying instead of motivating. On the same note, using ‘to empower’ as a term meant to describe giving an employee a more-important-than-average task is just as bad (and a bit condescending as well).
Core competency – someone or something’s main strength
Another obnoxious phrase, used for describing someone’s main quality. It’s not only useless business jargon, but it’s also incorrectly used, since that’s not what competent means.
Eager beaver – employees aspiring to over-achieve
Don’t look down on people who are giving it their best: the pressures in the work-field are the cause of their over-eager behavior. Also, try to cradle and protect the enthusiasm of new comers, it won’t last forever. On the same note, ‘onboarding’ as a verb used for getting a new employee up to speed with how things run is just as pretentious (and also pretty condescending).
Parking lot – ideas which *will* be addressed at some point
This is a piece of business jargon used for all those points and ideas kept on a list meant to be addressed at some point by executives, but which never are. The phrase is obnoxious and self-important, because ideas or issues to be discussed are obviously not cars, so referring to them as such is pretentious and annoying.
Golden handshake – a substantial severance package clause
This phrase refers to a special clause in the contract of executives, stipulating that they receive a substantial severance package when their contract is terminated. Again, this is one of the most over-used and annoying business phrases currently in fashion.
Bleeding Edge – praise for something beyond ‘Cutting edge’
As if ‘cutting edge’ wasn’t already enough to describe top of the line products or services, someone thought a new and improved slang needed to be created for the same purpose.
Sacrifice – firing someone
We understand the need to sugarcoat your wording in order to be nicer to people. But sometimes, like in the case of firing someone, it just sounds more condescending to pretend you care about their worth much more than you obviously do.
Leverage – bargaining advantage
This isn’t struggling with heavy objects or a physics problem: it’s just a business negotiation, so there’s no need for this tired business jargon to be used every time there’s a negotiation planned.
This was our top list of obnoxious business phrases being used in 2015. We could go on, but 15 were more than enough to illustrate the trends. Do you have anything in particular you’d like to add to the list of annoying business jargon? Let us know in the comment section below.