Somewhere along the line, people have forgotten how to use simple, clear language in their business communications and insist on falling into a big bucket of jargon-y goo. Marketing-speak and consultant-comm are creeping into the common lexicon like boll weevils in a cotton patch, changing how we talk to each other. It would really be terrible if this problem extended into private, personal, informal conversation and I am thankful I have yet to hear this.
My rant is against using terms that are substitutes for more common everyday words. Here is a short list of my least favorite, commonly used terms:
1 - Leverage. When I was growing up this was a noun; now it is used frequently as a verb, "to leverage." Instead of people having leverage against a competitor or have the leverage to make something happen, now they leverage things, including money. You can read what Dictionary.com says about it here. That's fine, except I am hearing the word used somewhat incorrectly over and over again and it's quite annoying. If you're using a resource, use the resource. Keep your levers out of my office.
2 - Analytics. Analytics is "the science of logical analysis" but it is now the ubiquitous term for analysis and reports, data and results.
3 - Metrics. Another annoying use of a word that began its life meaning something else --the metric system, metric tons . . . not measurements or data. See Analytics above.
4 - Client-facing. Oh, you mean the customer service and sales people? When I hear that all client-facing employees must do something, I cannot help but conjure up the image of too many people squished in an elevator or in a small office being forced to stand face-to-face trying to have a conversation. Perhaps I've just stumbled upon the concept for a new mouthwash commercial.
5 - Onboard. I don't mean vacationers who are on a cruise ship. This is used when a company brings a newbie on board . . . that person is "onboarded" which I take to mean acclimated, welcomed, oriented. But I don't really know; being a freelancer, I haven't been onboarded by a company lately. Not sure I want to be (sounds like waterboarding, no?). Alternate usage: to garner support for a project (getting people on board with you). I guess five or six words just sends some folks over the vocabulary edge.
6 - Stakeholder. Who has a stake in the company? Senior management, the owner, perhaps the board of directors if relevant. But this term has now extended to employees, clients/customers, the public. Of course, it is always better to have a stake in a company that a stake in the heart (any Van Helsing fans out there?).
Oh, I could go on but I won't. Maybe I'll rant about overused phrases such as "at the end of the day," or "off the hook." I just miss the days of saying what you mean in more than a word, using a full phrase, a long sentence -- just saying it! There are loads of really fun phrases that will keep you chuckling at the website, TheOfficeLife.com. I found it recently and really enjoy reading what contributors submit. Some are ultra-clever, some are quite snarky, many are graphic in a good way. Check them out alphabetically at http://www.theofficelife.com/business-jargon-dictionary-A.html
Send me some of your least favorite newer terms that are tearing up our conversation and reducing modern discourse to a lot of words that used to mean one thing, now mean another, and others that just seem silly.