Is it time to think outside the box and retire some buzzwords (or buzz phrases) from your presentations?  Read this quote and see what you think:

“It’s not exactly rocket science or brain surgery to figure out that they are not the cream of the crop when it comes to language. But perhaps at the end of the day we’ll find that we won’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we’ll push the envelope and have our fingers in every pie.”

Buzzwords lose their “buzz” over time and become ambiguous worn out clichés. Simple words lead to clear communication and make you sound human, and fresh.

This is also mentioned in a book I am reading – Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman (  The authors list 18 buzzwords that they believe should be retired from business communication.  Here are my 5 favorites from their list, with some editorial comments:

Synergy – In your presentation you can illustrate the good things that will happen when you work together and avoid actually using the word.

Strategic – This word can mean different things to different people, so it is best to avoid it.

Bandwidth – This is a technical term that we sometimes apply to human resources or time.  Can we simply call it what it is – capacity, time, or resources?

Value add – It is unclear if this means “free” or something else entirely.  It is also overused; try to avoid it if you can.

Solution – When you explain what your product does, the audience will decide if it is a solution for them.  We also need to be careful – sometimes solutions are identified for customers without understanding what the true problem is.

So, at the end of the day, what words do you think should be retired from your presentations?

Joe Pops

Refuse to be boring

3 Replies to “When they lose their buzz…”

  1. May be you could add some these terms…
    Strategic Imperative
    Let me get back to you on this
    Great Question! Thank you for asking
    Thank you for attending this presentation
    Not all of them are buzz words, but you do hear them too often. A list of fall back answers and comments!

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