Few things expose a person’s lack of experience or preparation more quickly than cheesy language or jargon. Clichéd, repetitive and often meaningless buzzwords and jargon are irritants to senior executives’ who would far rather speak to people that are authentic and genuinely interested in them. We all have our own selection of irritating euphemisms, idioms or buzzwords, so we thought we’d name and shame some of the worst offenders currently doing the office rounds in B2B lead generation circles.
Win-win Situation (Sorry Mr Covey)
Annoying ‘management speak’ is often deployed in B2B lead generation by those attempting to impress. The Plain English organisation are campaigners for clearer communication. They say that apart from the usual business jargon and gobbledygook, offices up and down the country, and indeed across the world, resound with corporate ‘management speak’, or ‘marketing speak’. Last year, a survey revealed that many staff who work for big corporate organisations find themselves using management speak as a way of disguising the fact that they haven’t done their job properly. Their favourite examples included ballpark figure, a win-win situation, and take it to the next level – pass the bucket!
Think outside the box
According to a recent survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management, 57% of executives find the phrase ‘thinking outside the box’ to be the most infuriating of them all. A fairly unconstructive way of telling people to come up with a new, unique idea, the phrase should have been ditched from the B2B lead generation dictionary years ago.
The survey showed that the next most annoying phrase was ‘going forward’ with 53% of respondents ranking it as an irritant. Though it may seem fairly inoffensive at first, repetition has made the words two of the most hated a B2B lead generation professional can hear (or use).
A favourite phrase of networkers and people trying to show a light touch in management, ‘touch base’ has been winding up senior executives for a few years now. It’s recently been joined by the even more unnecessary ‘touch base offline’ which is a roundabout way of asking someone to meet face to face.
A lot of people in the B2B lead generation business seem to think the phrase ‘reach out’ is friendlier and less intimidating than ‘contact’, ‘get in touch’ or ‘call’. This has led to the phrase finding its way into countless marketing dictionaries. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before it finds its way out again.
You’ve heard of a brainstorm, well, now it’s time to have an ‘idea shower’. Some managers believe this is a less threatening way to ask for input from their team. The fact that it doesn’t offer us anything new hopefully means it won’t be around for long.
Let’s action that
Instead of saying, ‘let’s action that’ at the end of a meeting or discussion – why not just say, ‘that’s what we’ll do’?
One of the most meaningless buzzwords out there at the moment: ‘synergy’ seems to have a huge number of meanings in the world of business. From ‘balance’ to ‘combination’ and ‘collaboration’ to ‘cooperation, the word is thrown into the mix whenever someone wants to sound like they know what they’re talking about.
Going forward, whenever you touch base or reach out to your customers, you’ll be able to action removing buzzwords and jargon from your sales pitch. This should help to create synergy and allow your idea shower to flow freely. Now that is a win win situation.