Buzzwords

According to a recent survey, “thinking outside the box” (to look at things differently) and “going forward” (exploring unfamiliar opportunities) are two of many insufferable management phrases people not only find annoying and an obstacle to procuring new business, but also result in making English Language Puritans criticize the usage of excessive descriptive terminology. While some examples of business jargon do seem bizarre, other expressions that are claimed to annoy dominate everyday “symbolic” language; either way, many descriptive phrases or buzzwords are clever derivatives of long-winded concepts. For instance, descriptive innovation, exit strategy, new sincerity, cutting-edge, framework, mind-set, talking points and vision statement.

An interesting buzzword is “disruptive innovation”, which refers to an original concept that helps create a new market or value network by disrupting [altering] an existing market through the process of displacing or shifting an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe new ideas that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by targeting a different set of consumers and increasing value within a new market, followed by cutting overhead costs in the existing market. Buzzwords have an important place in our fast-paced society, particularly an evolving discipline like marketing where brevity is essential. The usage of buzzwords is a powerful communication tool, but only if everyone involved shares a common understanding of all that the buzzword encapsulates. Yet if our language becomes distorted with all kinds of gobbledygook that is vaguely understood by only a few, the response is usually legitimate disapproval. It also has the potential to degrade the English language rather than enrich it.