Buzzwords aren’t the way to career success

corporate buzzwords
You might want to make sure you know what an “elevator pitch” is before tossing the term around. / Thinkstock

 

Are you a “thought leader” with a well-defined “elevator pitch”? If you answered yes to that question without really knowing what those terms mean, you are not alone.

Research done by Financial Times Publishing revealed that less than 10 percent of senior managers in the UK comprehend the real meaning of popular corporate buzzwords. Out of nearly 1,000 respondents, the majority were “quite unable” give a correct explanation of the jargon they use each day. For example, only a quarter of those who participated in the survey understood words like “leverage,” and “core competency.”

Less than half of respondents understood the meaning of “paradigm shift” or were able to distinguish how “strategy” differs from “tactics” in a managerial context. Only nine percent of the respondents were able to correctly match a list of 10 words with their meanings.

Interestingly, even executives who said they were “admittedly ignorant” of these words still used five of these terms on average per day in meetings, presentations, emails, reports and of course, in conversationss. Most of them think that by doing so they appear more professional or intelligent in the eyes of others. Others believe that throwing these words around cements their position of authority.

A small number of the participants genuinely thought that they made sense when they included these terms in conversations, not realizing that they were using these words inaccurately. Some admitted to just faking it and hoped that they would not be asked to actually explain what they meant.

According to the co-authors of the study, professors Davide Sola and Jerome Couturier, corporate jargon is overused in the business world and costs UK businesses tens of millions of pounds annually.

“Using corporate spiel in order to appear more intelligent, or simply because it sounds ‘good’, is clearly not the best method of communicating a direction or message. At best, staff and colleagues are left confused or ambivalent. At worst, it costs businesses money as stakeholders are unable to understand the objective and take longer to bring projects or tasks to fruition,” says Sola.

Couturier says corporate buzzwords, when used in context, can effectively communicate a vision or objective. “The trick is to use them only when applicable. If in doubt, stick to clear and simple English.”

Here is a list of the ten commonly misunderstood business buzzwords, according to the study. Make sure you understand them before you throw them around:

10. Core competency
9. Blue sky thinking
8. Strategy
7. Tactics
6. Engagement
5. Elevator pitch
4. Leverage
3. Future-proof
2. Return on involvement
1. Thought leaders

— Content provided by r/ally, a mobile collaboration platform. See more at rallyyourgoals.com

Print



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.