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What is the Most Overused Management and Business Jargon?

July 11, 2013 by Dr. Jon Warner in Communication

What is the Most Overused Management and Business Jargon?

Every workplace generation has its favorite phrases and jargon used by managers and others, but it seems as though we are using many more on a commonplace basis in the last decade or so.

Although the list of business jargon is potentially now a very long one, the list below contains 50 of the word and phrases that seem to be in most common use.

  • At the end of the day
  • Ballpark figure
  • Bandwidth
  • Best of Breed
  • Best practices
  • Clear blue ocean
  • Blue sky
  • Brick-and-mortar
  • Building Capabilities
  • Circle back around
  • Client-centric
  • Core competency
  • Customer-centric
  • Deep dive
  • Downsizing
  • Drinking from the fire hose
  • Drinking the Kool-Aid
  • Event horizon
  • Game changer
  • Get on the same page
  • Get our arms around it
  • Go back to Square 1
  • Granular
  • Herding cats
  • Impacted (as a verb)
  • Level the playing field
  • Leverage
  • Long Tail
  • Low Hanging Fruit
  • Management Visibility
  • Mission Critical
  • My bad
  • Offshoring
  • On a go-forward basis
  • Paradigm shift
  • Peel back the onion
  • Playing on the same team
  • Provide air cover
  • Pushing the envelope
  • Run it up the flagpole
  • Seamless integration
  • Sweet spot
  • Take it offline
  • Tension in the system
  • Thinking outside the box
  • Touch base
  • Touch-point
  • Value-added
  • Visibility
  • Walk the walk, Talk the talk, Walk the talk and Talk the walk

So why do people use these “buzz-words”? Well, one powerful reason is that it’s catching. In other words, if one person hears or reads another person using these words or phrases, he or she may well copy its use, especially in a similar context.

At one level, such words and phrases are familiar short-cuts or summaries of wider concepts that would need more words to explain. However, this can be annoying if another person does not appreciate what is being summarized. In addition, some people may see such language as lazy and even ungrammatical.

Although a certain amount of business jargon is inevitable (and some organizations have their own language and acronyms which are hard to avoid) for example, managers may want to think carefully before copying or regularly using a jargon-based word or phrase. Too much of it and we quickly lose clarity and that is unlikely to be good for business.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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