101 bad business buzzwords — and why you should avoid them

This is a post by Joe Latta that we found very helpful and should remind us all of often used words and phrases.  We continue to find the best content out there and share with you on our MCA blog. Thanks for all the positive feedback and we hope you enjoy this post.

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Today’s marketing and proposal materials are littered with important-sounding words that have no real value. Seamless, top-notch, world-class, laser-focused, and best of breed. We’ve all been guilty of using terms like these in place of meaningful descriptors.

Unfortunately, buzzwords can seriously weaken your persuasive messaging and give an impression of insecurity. In fact, a 2010 study by researchers at New York University and the University of Basel found that readers are significantly more likely to think your statements are untruthful when written with abstract language, rather than with concrete terms and phrasing. Not good.

That’s why we’re listing the 101 buzzwords we most often see in marketing and proposal writing. They take many forms, from correct words used in ways never intended to bizarre verbs transformed from nouns, but they all have better alternatives. So next time you type one, stop and think of a more concise and meaningful replacement. Your readers — and bottom line — will thank you.

  1. 24/7
  2. actionable
  3. agent of change
  4. apples to apples
  5. at this point in time
  6. back to the drawing board
  7. bang for the buck
  8. benefit of the doubt
  9. beside the point
  10. best and brightest
  11. best in class
  12. best of breed
  13. best practices
  14. big picture
  15. bite the bullet
  16. boots on the ground
  17. bring to the table
  18. built-in safeguards
  19. change agent
  20. circle back
  21. clean slate
  22. client-centered
  23. close the loop
  24. come full circle
  25. core competency
  26. cream of the crop
  27. customer intimacy
  28. cut to the chase
  29. cutting-edge
  30. data-driven
  31. dialed-in
  32. drastic action
  33. drop-dead date
  34. drop the ball
  35. each and every
  36. functionality
  37. give the green light to
  38. giving 110 percent
  39. goes without saying
  40. grind to a halt
  41. hard and fast
  42. having the bandwidth
  43. hit the ground running
  44. hot pursuit
  45. ill-fated
  46. in close proximity
  47. in no uncertain terms
  48. in the day and age
  49. in the loop
  50. in the trenches
  51. iron out the problem
  52. keep options open
  53. laser-focused
  54. last but not least
  55. level playing field
  56. leverage
  57. low-hanging fruit
  58. make the case for
  59. marked contrast
  60. mission critical
  61. more or less
  62. moving up the value chain
  63. needless to say
  64. needs no introduction
  65. one and the same
  66. one stop shop
  67. open and shut
  68. paradigm shift
  69. plug-and-play
  70. point in time
  71. pushing the envelope
  72. put in the parking lot
  73. raising the bar
  74. reinventing the wheel
  75. research-proven and field-tested
  76. right-sizing
  77. robust
  78. run of the mill
  79. said and done
  80. seamless transition/integration
  81. second to none
  82. seeing the big picture
  83. sharpen our pencils
  84. silo
  85. skin in the game
  86. soup to nuts
  87. square the circle
  88. step up to the plate
  89. synergy or synergizing
  90. take it off-line
  91. thanking you in advance
  92. think outside the box
  93. thought leader
  94. too numerous to mention
  95. top-notch
  96. track record
  97. turnkey operation/solution
  98. unprecedented opportunity
  99. value-add
  100. win-win situation
  101. world-class

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