Business is also riding the fashion waves, and it’s usually an opportunity for a nice extra income if you can throw a few just-popular, content-free words into your vocabulary. They may have no content or are used in a different context, but because the audience doesn’t understand exactly what the actual content of the word is, they won’t see through this little trick. CLOUD serves as a good example of a buzz word, because for the vast majority of the non-expert audience it is a word with no meaning, which of course they have heard many times and every modern solution is after all … in the cloud. Another popular phrase is USING BLOCKCHAIN.
Why do we use buzzwords?
It is often argued that buzzwords do not just arise, but are created by a group of people working in a company as a means of creating a need. By using them as a technical term from or relating to a particular field, it is intended to impress those outside the field.
Using the right buzzwords will give our message a sense of drama, importance and urgency. And possibly even cover up missing content and message.
We need to embellish and exaggerate things a bit, that’s usually the main reason. How many boring meetings have you had? Probably all of us have had the privilege of attending a few. And how many of them had as a subject matter - a really boring meeting? Probably none, but a lot of them were associated with another overused word - strategic.
Over time, the word strategy has lost its original meaning, especially in the military sense. There it is a perfectly clearly defined term and there are months or years of hard work behind it, full of discussion, argument and evaluation. And today, many people are not ashamed to label a three-line plan in Excel as a “strategic plan.”
We all use them from time to time because they are notorious and the audience will not search for their specific content; they know them well themselves and use them in some context.
How to recognize them?
They are often words that are overused and we come across them in virtually every presentation or business message. Today, they are often Information Technology terms because there is usually only one person in a management meeting with detailed knowledge of IT issues and they are often easily outvoted and shouted down.
Usually, just asking how specifically the whole thing is supposed to work is enough to expose the impersonality. However, the presenter relies on the fact that there will be no time for such a question and no one will have the courage to ask a question on a term that is, after all, clear to everyone.
What about buzzwords in Human Resources
Even Human Resources has its buzzwords that have lost much of their meaning, but we still like to use them because they are very trendy and every proper HR professional should know them and, moreover, use them correctly.
- feedback (a very useful thing, but we can’t spend our lives constantly giving feedback back and forth)
- artificial intelligence (it doesn’t really work yet)
- agile (often means breaking the rule of measure twice and cut once)
- HR in the Cloud (because we don’t know exactly what that means)
- Labour Code (this is when we want to block something)