Stop Using Buzzwords (You are Better Than That)

A person placing a sticky note on the corner of a laptop screen as a reminder

Have you ever read a lengthy report, strategy, or article, and at its conclusion, thought, “What did I just read? What did that even say?!”

Generally, when this happens, there is one simple cause: buzzwords.

Somehow, as the rate of content that is being created each day in our society has skyrocketed, so has the use of words that don’t really mean anything, or used to have meaning, but have been so overused they don’t anymore. People are so tired of seeing the same old dribble about thinking out of the box to create collaborative synergy in order to support innovative thought leadership that there is literally a Wikipedia page about how to make buzzword bingo cards.

As communications professionals, we LOVE words. We subscribe to word-of-the-day emails and our thesauruses are worn out from use. We know that words matter; selecting the right word, not just filler nonsense, is so important.
Join us in being better than buzzwords! Here are our tips to make sure your content actually says something:

1. Make a “No” List

This can be for your own personal use, or company-wide implementation. Pay attention to words that don’t really mean anything, but are being used too often. Write them down, put that list where you will see it, and use it to guide content.

In our office, we literally won’t let anyone use the words synergy, disruptive, and ideate, because there are BETTER words. Promise.

2. Say What You Mean

If you find yourself using too many buzzwords, use an exercise that will force you to say what you mean in the simplest of terms. Pretend you need to explain something to a child. Would you say, “Let’s think outside of the box”?

No! You should say, “Let’s come up with a new idea”. Boom. Just that easy.

3. Grow Your Vocabulary

This is where those handy word-of-the-day emails come in. Sign up for one or follow a social channel that shares new words. Routinely learning new words helps train your mind to be more creative, and you will be less likely to return to overused words.

We hope you will accept our challenge to be better than buzzwords. And, if you need help creating content that is fresh and buzzword-free, let’s connect.

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