BBR Marketing Takes on Stupid Corporate Lingo, Part 2


Okay, seriously. Please don’t tell me that anyone uses these words seriously or in mixed company. Though I do remember being in a conference room where everyone was asked to open kimono when I was working for a dotcom in California. Thankfully, no one did. With my head in my hands, I offer the second installment of stupid corporate lingo…

by Kelly Googe Lucas, Marketing and Social Media Manager, BBR Marketing

We recently did a post on stupid corporate lingo and received quite a positive response. It appears that we at BBR Marketing are not the only ones who have to work very hard to keep from rolling our eyes when buzzwords words are dropped. A couple of readers offered up these excellent examples: synergistic leverage and business propulsion were personal favorites. Upon hearing the latter, Bonnie replied that it made her visualize someone vomiting. That’s probably not the desired effect, which is why it definitely does not belong in your firm’s marketing and communications.

Since this is just too much fun, we decided to write a follow up piece. I began searching the Internet for more examples and discovered that there are entire sites dedicated to corporate jargon and buzzwords. When you have the time, we encourage you to peruse the following websites and get a good chuckle out of what passes for overly zealous business marketing speak. If you have a specific term in mind, try Urban Dictionary. It’s a site where outsiders are allowed to contribute definitions to common, urban terms. If you want to randomly browse through stupid corporate lingo, visit The Office Life Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary. Another fun site is Unsuck It. In essence, you input a word, and they translate the ‘suck’ out of it, plus there’s a browse section for previously searched terms. And for a random list generated by Squidoo readers, head on over to the Encyclopedia of Business Cliches.

In the meantime, here are some new favorites:

Stupid Corporate Lingo: Solutioneering
Translation: Thinking
Solutioneering sounds like something that would come out of the Disney Corporation. If you’re not working for Mickey, I don’t think you can get away with using this in a serious business environment.

Stupid Corporate Lingo: Polishing a turd
Translation: Trying to make something hopelessly weak and unattractive appear strong and appealing
I’m not sure this is appropriate for any conversation, let alone a formal office meeting, though it does get the point across in a unique, yet repulsive, way.

Stupid Corporate Lingo: Granularity
Translation: Detail
If you are a sugar-producing company, this might work. But if you are in any other sort of business, saying detail makes way more sense and doesn’t make you sound like a pompous poser.

Stupid Corporate Lingo: Bio-Break
Translation: A break
This sounds like someone somewhere got offended by the term ‘potty break’ and then it just went downhill from there.

Stupid Corporate Lingo: Net-Net
Translation: In summary
Instead of sounding hip and with-it, this term makes the speaker sound as if they’re calling for their pet Pomeranian.

Stupid Corporate Lingo: Open Kimono
Translation: Share information, reveal
This is just dirty. You might as well say “Let’s just drop our pants and get it all out on the table.” Though that might even be a little less offensive.

Stupid Corporate Lingo: Preso
Translation: Presentation
If you use the word preso around me, I may have to laugh in your face at how ridiculous you sound.

Stupid Corporate Lingo: Corporate DNA
Translation: Fundamental values, ethics & internal perception
Just say values, ethics and perception. Personification of corporations and businesses is always a bad idea.

Do you have any to add to this list? Come and join in the fun!


11 comments on “BBR Marketing Takes on Stupid Corporate Lingo, Part 2

  1. Tom Matte on

    The one word from your above list that I have heard more than any other in real life conversations is…Granularity. Usually when I am speaking with someone in the IT department. Needless to say I am not a big fan on the word.
    If the word solutioneering ever comes out of my mouth feel free to shoot me.

  2. bonnie on

    This is for Jackson. “I recommend we stop this preso for a bio break. When we return, I expect some strong solutioneering as we open kimono regarding our corporate DNA and the granularity we want to communicate to our audiences. We aren’t polishing a turd here folks; the net-net will be a plan that brings synergy to everything we do.”

  3. Jay on

    All good except “polishing a turd,” which I happen to use all the time, though I wouldn’t consider myself a spinmeister of corporate lingo. As a designer, I’m often confronted with poorly-executed elements from clients (logos, graphics, copy & such) that I must incorporate into a new design. I get paid to make the bad stuff look good, hence polishing a turd.

  4. Julie on

    “Convo” for conversation is one I’m beginning to hear. I caught myself typing it in an email the other day and slapped myself (no one else was around to do it). It’s as if long words have become too exhausting or time consuming.

  5. Emily on

    I kinda like “polishing a turd,” but anyway…

    My personal favorite BS-speak is: Parallel Pathwaying.
    Translation: Transition.

    Also “bandwidth” as in, “Do you have bandwidth today?” or “What’s your bandwidth?” Dear GOD IN HEAVEN! Just ask if you have TIME. Do I have time to help you on a project? Yes, as long as you speak like a normal person.

    And “reach out.” What? What’s wrong with “contacting, calling or emailing?”

  6. Jay on

    Emily, I agree with you on “reaching out.” First time I heard that, I thought “I don’t think he would want you to reach out and touch him, a call should work just fine. I mean, keep your hands to yourself. Unless, of course, that’s the relationship you two have.”

  7. Kelly on

    Sounds like we may have to give immunity to ‘polishing a turd’ even though its one of the most repulsive things I’ve ever heard and makes me want to engage in Bonnie’s version of business propulsion. It seems to have a fan base. Bonnie, I think we may have found a way to start an online store. Anyone up for turd t-shirts?

  8. Sarah on

    Open kimono is just wrong on every possible level, but bio-break I find myself loving despite the eye-rolling factor. First of all, the automatic mental articulation goes on to add “-hazard” no matter how clearly one reads “-break,” but beyond that fun there’s a wonderfully earthy, accepting, hippie feeling to the whole concept. We’re biological creatures, people, so let’s recognize and respect that in the interest of business. Take care of our corporeal needs and thus enhance the ability to focus on higher goals, like marketing or architecture or IT, right? So…feel free to enjoy a refreshing nap. Feed whatever addiction you cater to, for sure. Have a snack, a little yoga, maybe sex, definitely some water and an oxygenating walk. B vitamins? Biorhythm massage? Whatever you need! A bio-break is flexible. It’s open-ended and inclusive (unlike the rigidly delineated “bathroom break”) and it kind of makes me feel nurtured. Also like I’d laugh at whoever said it, but still, I like the idea.


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