Navigating the Jargon Jungle

Step into any marketing or office environment, and you’re bound to find yourself amidst a ton of jargon. You know, those buzzwords and phrases that seem to infiltrate every conversation, email, and meeting? While they may have once served a purpose, I think we can all agree it’s time to take a closer look at their role in our professional lives (and determine which ones never to circle back on).

And before feeling attacked, find solace that even the masterminds behind our brand (yes, even the ones behind this blog) have fallen prey to their allure. We’re all guilty and should feel no shame, just a collective determination to do better. After all, the first step to change is admitting you have a problem, right? 

That’s what we’re doing together today. 

Common Workplace Buzzwords

Jargon is a collection of specialized words and phrases specific to certain industries or professions. It serves as a shorthand language to communicate ideas quickly within a particular community. Here are some examples of jargon that’s become commonplace in marketing and office settings (and that you’re likely tired of hearing):  

  • Circle back
  • Think outside the box
  • Touch base
  • Rockstar
  • Offline about it
  • Ping me
  • We’re like family here
  • Table this
  • Put a pin in it
  • Bandwidth
  • Pivot
  • Let’s leverage this
  • Low hanging fruit
  • Secret sauce
  • Synergy
  • Loop in
  • Content is king
  • Disruptor
  • Thought leader
  • Action items
  • Hot priority
  • Next steps
  • Deep dive
  • Close the loop
  • Game-changer
  • Moving parts

The Jargon Trap

Why do we find ourselves caught in the jargon cycle? Well, a few reasons: 

  1. It can create a sense of belonging and camaraderie within a group. Sort of like a signal that you’re part of the club.
  2. Professional posturing. Business people might use this as a way to puff up their chests, showcase their expertise, and establish authority. Our advice? Just throw bread at them next time they’re peacocking.
  3. It adds a layer of sophistication or mystique to your work (or so some believe). It’s essentially the idea that jargon makes your work sound more important than it is.

Annoyances & Miscommunications

Sure, jargon can serve a purpose, but it’s no secret its overuse can be super annoying. Using it excessively can hinder effective communication, leaving coworkers and clients scratching their heads. Messages get lost in the sea of buzzwords, leading to misunderstandings and frustration. 

When jargon becomes a barrier, it no longer serves a purpose in communication. See some exaggerated examples below:


So, essentially you’re saying the same thing just in other (fewer, more concise, less obnoxious) words…

Finding a Balance

Playing devil’s advocate, there are certain instances where jargon can be appropriate and effective. 

  • Specialized Discussions: Jargon streamlines communication among industry experts, demonstrating expertise and facilitating precise exchanges.
  • Technical Documentation: Jargon is indispensable in technical documents for audiences familiar with the terminology, conveying complex concepts concisely and accurately.
  • Industry Events and Conferences: Jargon can enable quick exchanges of ideas and high-level discussions.

All in all, it’s crucial to strike a balance and be mindful of who we’re speaking to. It’s silly to think we’ll ever kick office jargon to curb for good, but perhaps we can make a pact to at least try and expand our workplace vocabulary.

There’s immense power in simplicity. Prioritizing clarity and inclusivity in our communication and using plain language allows us to communicate more effectively, ensuring our messages are understood by a wider audience. Plus, without getting too jargon-y on you, clear communication fosters collaboration, strengthens relationships, and boosts productivity. 

So why complicate things?

Remember, the secret sauce to effective communication lies in connecting with others on a human level rather than drowning them in a sea of jargon.