Most Hated Phrases In Business 2016
We surveyed our small business owners to find out what business phrase deserves to be appointed the most hated business phrase of 2016
Buzzwords, management-speak, office jargon – whatever you call them, phrases used in the office often go from time-saving wonders of language to tired and worn clichés in no time. Aside from making the user sound like a bad Bill Lumbergh impersonator, they can also have a negative effect on productivity. At worst, staff might not understand the term and have to spend time looking it up, or at the very least they’ll be annoyed you used the term.
It seems these unnecessarily intrusive phrases aren’t just reserved for the biggest and richest companies, as the jargon-packed terms of the boardrooms are making their way to small and medium businesses as well, as we found out when we asked 500 of our customers what their least favourite buzzwords were.
We found that the following buzwords are increasingly being used to try and sell to small and medium businesses, as well as in the small businesses themselves. Whether it’s products, services or recruitment, these are the top ten phrases that small business owners (and their employees) wish you’d stop using:
"The formation of concepts or ideas”
Ideation is an alternative to the increasingly out of fashion term “brainstorm”, and means thinking of new ideas. Irks people for being unnecessarily complex.
9. "The Uber For...
"The Uber For..." refers to the taxi app Uber, and the phrase is defined as generating demand for a product or service via a mobile device, which is then fulfilled offline.
A trend that’s being seen in start-ups is referring to themselves as “the Uber for...”, so “we’re the Uber for laundry” or “we’re the Uber for dog walking”. The term is disliked for piggybacking on another company’s success/model.
8. Low Hanging Fruit
"The most easily achieved os a set of tasks, measures or goals"
Low hanging fruit refers to an easy win – as the fruit is hanging low, it’s easier to grab (or so the saying would have you believe). Overuse has turned this phrase from a quick timesaver to a tired cliché.
7. Mission Critical
"Vital to the functioning of an organisation"
Mission critical refers to, unsurprisingly, something which is critical to the success of a business or organisation. Unfortunately it’s regularly used on everyday topics, and this over-dramatisation of a situation has led it to be one of the ten most irritating phrases.
6. (Takes advantage of the) Internet of Things
"A proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity"
The Internet of Things is quite a complicated topic, and is apparently being pitched (or things that use it are being pitched) to small and medium businesses. This already complicated subject, when being pitched with other products or services to small and medium business owners, has put it at number six on our list.
5. Growth Hacker
"The process of rapid experimentation across a range of marketing channels to identify the most effective ways to grow a business"
Growth hacker, or growth hacking, started as a term to describe rapid growth through testing, however it quickly became overused and diluted. This overuse in marketing emails and blog posts is the reason it’s ranked so high in our list.
"The cooperation of two or more organisations or people to produce a combined effort greater than the sum of their separate effects"
Synergy is management-speak for teamwork or cooperation – both words which would make just as much sense. This over-complication of the word, especially when there are other words which aren’t as pretentious, is the reason it’s disliked so much by small and medium businesses.
3. Deep Dive
"A technique to rapidly immerse a group or team into a situation for problem solving or idea creation"
Deep dive tends to be used by managers who think they’ll be able to answer problems found by their employees, which has led to it being one of the most hated terms among small and medium business employees.
"To use something to maximum advantage".
Leverage is a term used by more senior employees when talking about making a situation work to their advantage. It is disliked because not only is it impersonal, but its use often confuses employees.
"A woman who combines running a business enterprise with looking after her children"
Mumpreneur came out as the most hated term among our respondents, mainly due to how the word puts a gender to entrepreneur. Women who are entrepreneurs and also have children don’t feel the need to be classed separately from other people who run businesses, and the feeling of sexism the word portrays is what put it as the most irritating business term in small and medium businesses.
Whilst some of these irksome terms are hated because they exist seemingly only to make the speaker feel more important, others are disliked for being unnecessarily complicated (Internet of Things stands out for this) and Mumpreneur in particular was hated among our repondents for its sexist connotations.
Although we've not heard anyone use all ten terms in one sentence, we've no doubt that someone (possibly sporting a goatee and working in an office in Slough) will have inadvertently used a good portion of them!
Which business jargons do you hate the most? Let us know in the comments below!