Buzzwords are those terms that sound important, but are meaningless. They are often used to desensitise people to the harsh side of the business world and say more about what isn’t being said than what is. They are designed to be impersonal and grease the gears of the machine working behind them.
Businesses tend to punctuate all their internal communications with this business speak. It has the intention and result of making lower level employees feel less secure, as well as add a layer of defence to those higher up the chain. It is essentially gibberish that condescends and confuses people, with the hope of making the person using it seem knowledgeable and in possession of a good business acumen.
Don’t Let Them Outside Your Business
While it can be difficult to remove such words from a business hierarchy, under no circumstances should they reach the outside world. Paying customers and engaged users need to feel a connection with a brand on a personal level. They want to feel that they are getting value for their money and that they trust whom they are buying from. Buzzwords are poison to this connection and your audience will see right through them.
Genuine connections are built on commonalities and openness, but buzzwords are intentionally vague and used with the hope of stopping further questions. If you encountered a person in your personal life who spoke about “blue sky thinking” and “core competencies” you’d avoid them. If you walked into a store and a sales person inundated you with meaningless terms that seemed related to your query, but on reflection were empty, then you wouldn’t go back to that shop. Talking to you customers as if they were stupid or gullible will only result in poor engagement.
Not to Be Confused
Buzzwords are not the same as technical jargon. While technical terms and specifications can be dull to read and hear, they are generally important to the topic at hand. This type of language is designed to add clarity to a topic, while buzzwords and business-speak remove it.
What to Use Instead
Your customers should be spoken to like they’re your friends or at least people you know. Whether it’s website content, email marketing, search engine optimisation, customer service correspondence, or face to face communication, buzzwords give the impression of having something to hide. This is where audience segmentation and developing buyer personas is a useful technique. Creating the ideal customer model for each demographic in your market will give you a clearer idea of how to speak to them. Imagine they are an actual person and the language required becomes more obvious.
Customers, especially online, are savvier than ever and a lack of transparency can be damaging to a brand. Ambiguous or evasive language, or incomprehensible business speak will cause your audience to give up on you.
Image Credit: Mic