Business Jargon That Needs to Stop

Business Jargon That Needs to Stop

When I started working in business, I noticed that some of my coworkers used quirky phrases in the office. At first it was only every so often. But the more I was exposed to other departments and people in the company, the more I heard these phrases — nay, clichées — from pretty much everyone. I hear them most often from those of my colleagues that have an MBA. As someone without an MBA, I have to wonder if “Business Jargon 101” is one of the mandatory courses. In all seriousness, though, business jargon has become so overused that it’s actually driving me crazy. Here are some of the worst offenders that really need to go away.

Action Items

When I record actions I am planning to take, I call it a to-do list. But when you’re in a meeting, you have to have Action Items. Usually they’re recorded and tracked by some sort of Project Manager. The problem is when people consider the Action Items to be things the PM will manage, rather than the things they have to do themselves. Even worse, sometimes the Action Item is to hold another meeting to talk about something from this meeting (that you could probably just talk about right now). See also: next steps and takeaways.

Learnings

A.k.a. Things You Learn. This word is grammatically incorrect and wholly unnecessary.

To Your Point

This one isn’t really business jargon. It’s simply a phrase that people seem to use a lot in business to sound a little fancier than “like you said”. Maybe agreeing with others is only impressive when you find a way to restate what they already said.

Net-Net

As a physics major, I will tell you that this is not a real thing. It’s either not net (i.e. there are still considerations to be made on the total), or it is net. There is no net-net. It’s just not a thing.

Take It Offline

I’ll cut this one a little slack. I understand wanting to have certain conversations “offline” — as in, face to face and not in a large meeting — when you’re currently “online” — as in, during a large meeting or video/telephone conference call. But when you blur the lines between off- and online, what’s the point of using this word in the first place? If you’re currently in an in-person meeting with only a handful of people, don’t tell someone you’ll take it offline. Just tell them you’ll talk later.

Solution (as a verb)

Most people know that “solution” is a noun. In business, though, that’s not always the case. “Solutioning” just means “finding a solution”. Except it doesn’t mean that, because it’s not a word at all. I would even categorize it with other fake words like “orientate” and “irregardless”. Please don’t use it.


If you hear any of these business jargon phrases on a regular basis, there are many more examples. If you want to read more of them, click here — and if you’d rather listen to more of them, watch here:

(Full disclosure: this video is technically an ad, but you can just skip the last 15 seconds to avoid the sales pitch.)

What business jargon drives you up the wall?