Trucks at Work
Buzzword burnout

Buzzword burnout

When business or industry terms become overused, people stop paying attention to them. The best communicators use clear and straightforward language that directly illustrates their points.” –Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps

In a lighthearted vein, as we’ve waded through so much bad news this year, let’s take a look at one firm’s ranking of the most “overused business buzzwords” in use at the moment – the kind of stuff I find peppering press releases from all comers day in and day out. You may have your own pet “buzzword” peeve, too, or funny variation thereof, so please feel free to send them along to me and we’ll add them to the list.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, a big staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance, and conducted by an independent research firm based on telephone interviews with 150 senior executives from some of the country’s largest companies. These executives were asked, “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today?” And frankly, their responses should surprise no one:

Leverage: As in, “We intend to leverage our investment in IT infrastructure across multiple business units to drive profits.”

Reach out: As in, "Remember to reach out to customers impacted by the change."

It is what it is: As in, "The server is down today, and clients are irate. It is what it is."

Viral: As in, "Our video has gone viral."

Game changer: As in, "Transitioning from products to solutions was a game changer for our company."

Disconnect: As in, "There is a disconnect between what the consumer wants and what the product provides."

Value-add: As in, "We have to evaluate the value-add of this activity before we spend more on it."

Circle back: As in, "I'm heading out of the office now, but I will circle back with you later."

Socialize: As in, "We need to socialize this concept with our key stakeholders."

Interface: As in, "My job requires me to interface with all levels of the organization."

Cutting edge: As in, "Our cutting-edge technology gives us a competitive advantage."

Accountemps conducted a similar survey in 2004 and found several overused buzzwords and phrases are still in vogue five years later:


At the end of the day



Think outside the box

On the same page


Hoo boy! So much for the complexity and depth of the English language! With a plethora of terminology at our fingertips, these words and phrases are the ones getting used over and over … and over! … again?? Ouch! It’s enough to make one fall asleep from mental boredom …