In the Simpsons episode “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show,” a frustrated script writer for the children’s show Itchy and Scratchy called out his colleagues for using buzzwords such as “proactive” and “paradigm,” calling them buzzwords that make dumb people sound smarter and more important, after which he was promptly fired.
“Excuse me, but “proactive” and “paradigm”? Aren’t those just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? Not that I’m accusing you of anything like that…. I’m fired aren’t I?”
Every industry is full of its own cliches, buzzwords that convey vague and often convoluted ideas common to the business world. An interesting new article from AOL Jobs creates a list of “Most Hated Business Terms. Eli Lehrer of the Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate added his most hated term to the mix: “Enterprise risk management.”
23. “Enterprise risk management.” It’s used often at insurance and other financial services, and means nothing at all but is used to mean things as varied as “shopping for an insurance policy,” “managing an investment portfolio to achieve stable returns,” “improving plant safety,” or “acquiring a competitor,” said Eli Lehrer of the Heartland Institute.
The list includes favorites like “think outside the box” and the cringe including “synergy.” The original story, “25 Most Hated Business Terms” can be found online at: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/11/17/25-most-hated-business-terms/
College Humor also has a unique take on industry buzzwords in its hilarious video on online branding.
Somewhat Reasonable would like to hear some of your favorite (or hated) business buzzwords in our comment section.