Reaching out to leverage synergies? Please don’t!

Our senior consultant Andrew Weltch reaches out to leverage some synergies going forward. A look at the crime against language – business jargon.

Whether you consider it funny, annoying, or possibly useful, business jargon is hard to avoid.

Even if you manage not to go to meetings where such language is used, you’re still likely to receive an unsolicited email reaching out to you, perhaps offering solutions of some kind to leverage synergies, or just to touch base.

Those of us with a background in journalism tend to recoil from such meaningless cliches, and it’s good to know others do too.

Econsultancy, which might be described as being at the bleeding edge of disruptive thinking (if it allowed such words to be used) in digital business, marketing, and ecommerce, is a staunch opponent of such jargon.

Back in 2009, Econsultancy’s Chris Lake blogged about his work in developing a style guide for the organisation, and highlighted some of the words which would be banned.

In 2015, Christopher Ratcliff came to the party with an over-arching and more robust version in a post about the new style guide – including 20 banned words and some less offensive alternatives.

Econsultancy’s full banned list is even longer – here it is, in “order of disgust”:

Leverage

Synergies

Paradigm shift

Learnings

Leading

Solutions

Touch base

Incentivise

Holistic

Come to the party

Over-arching

24/7

Mission critical

Cradle-to-grave

Verbage

Actionable

Best in class

Blue sky thinking

Value-added

Robust

Deliverables

End-to-end

Going forward

There are some familiar stinkers there, though I confess I have used ‘leading’ once or twice.

As Ratcliff acknowledges, sometimes such terms can provide a convenient shorthand for something more complex. Usually, however, they are just a way to avoid using plain English in the hope of sounding smart or cool.

Avoiding plain English is not smart or cool. Let’s try to stop this, going forward. Oops!

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