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Worst Corporate Buzzwords of 2017

With the holiday season ended, we thought we would start the year with a light-hearted look at some of the absurdities associated with operating in the corporate world. Or, more specifically, the silliness of some of the lingo that corporate types just love to use.

In a survey by Summit Hosting, 1000 employees across the US were asked to rank the top corporate buzzwords, but rather than look at frequency, the survey respondents were asked to rank them from nails-on-a-chalkboard annoying to mostly tolerable!

Here’s a list of words, ranked from worst to best:


  • LOL (spoken aloud)
  • Ping me
  • Growth hacking/hacker

Somewhat acceptable:

  • Internet of Things
  • Run it up the flagpole
  • Low-hanging fruit
  • Synergy
  • Piggyback
  • Take one for the team
  • Jump ship
  • No-brainer
  • Table this discussion
  • Ducks in a row
  • Elephant in the room
  • CC me

Mostly acceptable:

  • A lot on my plate
  • Game changer
  • All hands on deck
  • Pick your brain
  • Hold down the fort
  • Hit the ground running
  • Leverage
  • ASAP
  • Think outside the box
  • Touch base
  • Open-door policy
  • Keep me posted

So, one of the most interesting points to emerge from the survey is that the means by which these phrases are communicated can mean the difference between them being par for the course or totally annoying.

For example, 47 percent of respondents suggested that when spoken during a conversation, these words are generally more tolerable than when they are written in an email, memo or other corporate communication. However, 34 percent suggested that – particularly for the worst ranked corporate buzz words – it didn’t matter how they were being conferred, people generally lost respect for the user or questioned their intelligence!

However, the survey respondents noted that in some cases, jargon can’t be avoided – and some are just smart to use when you need to save time or can even help the user come across as intelligent if used correctly and in context. However, what still irks them is that these phrases are often trotted out in place of a substantial conversation with meaningful directions, feedback or other actionable information.

So if you can eliminate only one buzzword for 2018, what should it be? Well, file this under laugh out loud, because almost EVERYONE agreed that the term “LOL” should NEVER be said out loud!

And, if you know that there is no way that your company is going to break their corporate jargon bad habits in the New Year, you and your colleagues can embrace the annoyance by playing heated games of “Lingo Bingo” during your next meeting or corporate event!


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