We’ve all used business buzzwords. Many of them are so common that they may have even become part of our daily vocabulary. But what are they actually communicating? The problem with buzzwords is that most are overused, cliched, and unclear. These words have been used (often misused) so much that they have either lost their meaning or become go-to substitutes when a company or employee has nothing of substance to say.

Really, business jargon has no value-add. It won’t make you seem like a thought leader or fast track you to that promotion. Instead, show what you bring to the table by using clear and concise language. Explain why your company is world class or cutting edge. Use data to back up your claims, and make goals with measurable results.

To highlight some of the most overused buzzwords, we created this visual with 25 of the most overused buzzwords and how much their use has increased in print over the past 30 years. This was calculated with Google’s Ngram Viewer tool.

25 Buzzwords Infographic


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Of course, countless words can be added to the list:

  • Actionable
  • Buy-in
  • Circle back
  • Core competency
  • Paradigm shift
  • Raise the bar
  • Scalability
  • State of the art

Though it’s tempting, and often easy, to use one of these phrases, it’s more beneficial to express yourself in a more insightful and concrete way. This will help you sound more intelligent and gain credibility amongst your colleagues.

Don’t forget to rid buzzwords from your self-promotional vocabulary too. According to LinkedIn, some of the most overused resume buzzwords are motivated, creative, enthusiastic, driven, successful, and strategic.

The way you communicate, whether via email, phone, or in-person, sends a strong message to others about your personality and your company culture, so avoid using those annoying buzzwords.
If we left off buzzwords that make you cringe, don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comments!