Social Enterprise

Buzzwords and jargon: Surviving the trite

Buzzwords and jargon are often tools for the verbally unimaginative. But sometimes a few come along that are pretty fun.

If you read my blog with any consistency, you know that I am the mortal enemy of the buzzword. (Do your career a favor: Stop the jargon!)

I think we've all had our fill of the meetings with company leaders who spew clichés like there's no tomorrow. We've all heard about "pushing the envelope," "carving out a niche," "bringing something to the table," and variations of the six million sports metaphors out there.

In fact, CNET even posted a piece on the top ten buzzwords of all time. The bad news is there are still a few people out there who continue to wring the life out of the old faithful buzzwords like "granular," "mindshare," and God help us, "low-hanging fruit."

The good news is there are some up-and-coming buzzwords that aren't half bad. On a site called BuzzWhack, I found a few that are so clever that I'm going to go against my personal feelings about jargon and advocate their use. They are:

airball: The corporate version of a cat hairball. Someone who makes lots of noise, disrupts everything, has the potential to make a big mess — but ultimately does nothing. connectile dysfunction: The inability to get a connection. Most commonly experienced when using a cell phone, but can refer to laptops with Wi-Fi cards, etc. blogola: Old-fashioned payola. Used to influence bloggers to write about a given product, TV show, movie, etc. locked tool box: When a company has the right tools, systems, computers, etc., but lacks skilled employees that can put them to good use. CFNO: A CFO (Chief Financial Officer) whose answer always seems to be "No" regardless of how large or small the purchase request.

So how about it? Any of you know buzzwords we can put our cynical seal of approval on?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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