The most hated buzzwords of 2016

Every year sees a brand new generation of buzz words and expressions which are loved and hated in equal proportions.

david-brent

Aside from making the user sound like Ricky Gervais’ character David Brent, they can have a negative effect on those to whom they are directed – not only is there a possibility they won’t understand the term, and will have to look it up, but there is also a good chance they will be irritated.

 

The UK’s no.1 business for sale marketplace, Bisdaq, speaks to thousands of business buyers and sellers every week, so they decided to survey 500 SME’s to find out the terms which they thought deserved to be on their 2016 list -and whether it’s products, services or recruitment, these are the top ten phrases that drive managers and employees to despair:

10. Ideate/Ideation

What does it mean?

According to Wikimedia, it is “the formation of concepts or ideas”.  Ideation is an alternative to the increasingly out of fashion term “brainstorm”, and means thinking of new ideas.

Why is it annoying?

Respondents said it irked them for being unnecessarily complex.

 

9. “The Uber For…

What does it mean?

“The Uber For…” refers to the taxi app Uber, and the phrase is defined as generating demand for a product or service via a mobile device, which is then fulfilled offline.

A trend that’s being seen in start-ups is referring to themselves as “the Uber for…”, so “we’re the Uber for laundry” or “we’re the Uber for dog walking”.

Why is it annoying?

Apart from being annoying for annoying’s sake, the term was said to ‘piggyback’ on another company’s success/model.

 

8. Low Hanging Fruit

 

What does it mean?

“The most easily achieved of a set of tasks, measures or goals,”  low hanging fruit refers to an easy win – as the fruit is hanging low, it’s easier to grab (or so the saying would have you believe).

Why is it annoying?

‘Overuse’ was the most popular response

 

7. Mission Critical

What does it mean?

“Vital to the functioning of an organisation” – something which is critical to the success of a business or organisation.

Why is it annoying?

Unfortunately it’s regularly used on everyday topics – meaning over-dramatisation of a common situation.

 

6. The Internet of Things

What does it mean?

“A proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity.”

Why is it annoying?

The ‘Internet of Things’ is quite a complicated topic, and is apparently being pitched to small and medium businesses with little explanation. This already complicated subject, when being pitched with other products or services to small and medium business owners, has rendered it sufficiently annoying to make number six on the list.

 

5. Growth Hacker

 

What does it mean?

“The process of rapid experimentation across a range of marketing channels to identify the most effective ways to grow a business”

Why is it annoying?

Growth hacker, or growth hacking, started as a term to describe rapid growth through testing, however it quickly became overused and diluted. This overuse in marketing emails and blog posts is apparently the reason it’s ranked so highly.

 

4. Synergy

What does it mean?

“The cooperation of two or more organisations or people to produce a combined effort greater than the sum of their separate effects” or in plain english, management-speak for teamwork or cooperation – both words which would make just as much sense.

Why is it annoying?

This over-complication of the word, especially when there are other words which aren’t as pretentious, is the reason it’s disliked so much by small and medium businesses.

 

3. Deep Dive
What does it mean?

According to Wikipedia, deep diving is “a technique to rapidly immerse a group or team into a situation for problem solving or idea creation”

Why is it annoying?

Deep dive tends to be used by managers who think they’ll be able to answer problems found by their employees, which has led to it being one of the most hated terms among small and medium business employees.

 

2. Leverage

 

What does it mean?

“To use something to maximum advantage”.  Leverage is a term used by more senior employees when talking about making a situation work to their advantage.

Why is it annoying?

It is disliked because it is impersonal, pretentious and confuses employees.

 

So, what made number 1 – the most annoying phrase of 2016?

 

1. Mumpreneur

What does it mean?

“A woman who combines running a business enterprise with looking after her children”

Why is it annoying?

In a sway of reassurance for Mums who juggle the pressures of running a business and family responsibilities, the term Mumpreneur came in for the biggest backlash from SMEs.

Respondents said they hated how the word puts a gender to an entrepreneur.  Women who are entrepreneurs and also have children don’t feel the need to be classed separately from other people who run businesses, and the feeling of sexism the word portrays is what put it as the most irritating business term in small and medium businesses.  Besides, it’s 2016, many modern Dad’s share parental responsibilities – none of us heard the term ‘Dadpreneur’ – it’s not remarkable that women do it, they just do!

 

At least now, the rest of us have guidance on terms not to use… sadly, for the employees of Wernham Hogg, we’ve probably just given David Brent new ideas!

Seriously, while stories like these offer a few minutes light relief, the serious side of using buzzwords to communicate means your message risks not being clearly understood, and they rarely impress anyone.  So, in HR News tradition, we’ll get back to some deep diving for this week’s news stories, with our mission critical goal of getting the newsletter out by Thursday!

Author: Editorial Team

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