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Fears - Maximize U

The Worst Corporate Jargon

Hi.  I trust you and yours are well.

Thank you always for reading my books and free bi-monthly broadcasts and using my tools and strategies for winning in a VUCA world with freedom, power and peace of mind.*

*You probably know by now: VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Perhaps you also know the Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times 😉

It’s mission-critical that we circle back on this important matter of corporate jargon in the workplace. Let’s optimize by focusing on the low-hanging fruit with key stakeholders first and then loop everyone in to maximize buy-in. Being proactive about our learnings will really incentivize the group to zero in on the most critical action items, deliverables and value-add for maximum impact. Let’s start high level, drill down from there, and brainstorm next steps after lunch.

This is the type of corporate drivel that drives people to drink—or worse. George Orwell published his brilliant article “Politics and the English Language” 65 years ago, but if anything, our use of language has become only more automatic.

CareerBuilder asked 5,300 office workers for the corporate jargon that most makes their skin crawl, from “outside the box” to “low-hanging fruit” to “synergy.” We’ve all been there. What buzzwords would you like to jettison next year to streamline your communication? (Oops, “streamline” is a no-go; and so is “no-go”…)

Here is the hit list of favorite (or rather un-favorite) examples.

  • Outside the box (31 percent)
  • Low-hanging fruit (24 percent)
  • Synergy (23 percent)
  • Loop me in (22 percent)
  • Best of breed (19 percent)
  • Incentivize (19 percent)
  • Mission-critical (19 percent)
  • Bring to the table (18 percent)
  • Value-add (17 percent)
  • Elevator pitch (16 percent)
  • Actionable items (15 percent)
  • Proactive (15 percent)
  • Circle back (13 percent)
  • Bandwidth (13 percent)

If we thought for a moment before opening our mouth, we might be able to improve quickly. For example, as Amy Chulik pointed out:

Jargon: “Let’s circle back early next year.”
Instead: “Let’s talk again on January 4. I will send you a calendar invite.”

Jargon: “Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit.”
Instead: “What are the easiest goals for us to reach right now? Let’s focus on those first.”

What do you think? What is the worst corporate jargon you came across this year? I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts.



For additional details, questions or to schedule a coaching session on how you can improve your/ your team’s communication without using corporate jargon, please email


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