We live in a world of acronyms and quickly changing technology, and you may or may not know what they are. Buzzwords range from helpful to irritating and some just don’t make sense. Here are a few of those head scratchers:
- “Link Juice”
- Social Cleansing
- Bing Bopping
So, what’s the problem with using these silly phrases, even if you are one of the 1% who knows what they mean? The problem is that no one else does. Ask first if these buzzwords are necessary to communicate your point to potential listeners, or do they get in the way of clear communication?
That said, there are a few terms that come in handy from time to time. Saying Search Engine Optimization over and over again does not sound less stuffy than it’s abbreviation, SEO. But if you’re only saying it once, and it’s to your 6-year-old niece, doesn’t it make more sense to just say Return On Investment?
Buzzwords are not limited to the scrambled code of tech market lingo, though. Especially when we’re trying to be clear and concise, we can often fall back on an overused list of safe words. Check out this list of the top ten most overused buzzwords of 2011, as reported by LinkedIn:
- “Extensive experience”
- “Track record”
- “Problem solving”
- “Communication skills”
Aren’t we all?
It’s important to steer clear of trite phrases as much as niche jive–and for the same reason: So that what you’re saying actually means something to your listener. There are certain wonderful descriptions that we’ve all become numb to, like “jet black” and “ice cold”–phrases we’ve heard our whole lives, and have ceased to describe a special kind of darkness or unusually frigid night.
All of this is to say, who is your audience? If you’re talking to a room of marketing gurus, they’re going to know what a gui is. Likewise, if you’re talking to a room of sixth graders, words like “creative” and “dynamic” could be really inspiring. Chances are, though, that you’re communicating with a lot of people in the middle. People who are over hearing about your problem solving track record, but who just might not know whether neuromarketing is just another meaningless phrase or something they should really be terrified of. Chances are, you’re one of those people, too.
The bottom line – know your audience, communicate in the most concise fashion possible, and don’t be a buzzword toting d-bag.