GO
Loading...

‘Viral’ the New ‘Synergy’? Most Annoying Buzzwords

Phrases like “game changer,” “value add” and “it is what it is” are among the most overused phrases in business today, according to a survey of top executives that was released Thursday.

Staffing company Accountemps hired a research company to survey 150 senior executives from the 1,000 largest US companies about what is “the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today?”

Among the top responses were “leverage” (used as a verb), “it is what it is,” (new millennium phrase for no comment?) “viral” (as in video), “interface” (a noun forced into verb territory), “socialize” (think animals in zoos, not cocktail parties) and “value-add” (a roundabout way to hyphenate added value).

Other “winners” include “reach out,” “game changer,” “disconnect” (a verb made noun this time), “circle back,” and “cutting edge.”

"When business or industry terms become overused, people stop paying attention to them," Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, said in a press release. "The best communicators use clear and straightforward language that directly illustrates their points."

The survey follows up on one conducted five years ago. Among the Hall-of-Fame responses from 2004 and 2009 are “synergy,” “think outside the box,” solution,” “customer-centric” and “on the same page.”

More from CNBC.com

The current economic climate is also taking its toll on workplace vocabularies, the survey found. “Recession,” “downsizing,” “bailout” and “gloom and doom” were all popular responses.

"Nearly everyone is guilty of using buzzwords from time to time," Messmer said. "But professionals are evaluated increasingly on their ability to communicate.”

Contact Asia News

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

Asia Video

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia indicates that it could put rates on hold for the time being and will only opt for further rate cuts, if necessary, says Sean Callow, senior currency strategist at Westpac.

  • Simon Grose-Hodge, head of Investment Advisory, South Asia at LGT Bank Singapore, says a diversification into non-IT plays makes for a stronger Nasdaq Composite.

  • Chris Lane, senior research analyst at Bernstein Research, explains why China Unicom could see a "sharp slowdown in" its mobile service revenue in the final quarter of 2014.