Want to Sound Smart? Don’t Use Buzzwords

business (11)One of the main uses of communication is to convey meaning, emotion and information to others.  People also attempt to use language to create and form the image they’d like others to have of them.  It happens every day, in many different ways, through a variety of mediums – sometimes successfully, but often times not.

This is true for both personal and business communication.  In business the words you choose to use reveal a great deal about yourself to others, both professionally and personally.  Along with appearance, language is fundamental in creating the image people form about you.

Words provide structure and meaning for your thoughts, beliefs and ideas. The terminology you choose, how you say it, and to whom you say it gives clues about your: level of education, actual knowledge on the subject, comfort level with the current circumstances, job satisfaction, commitment to the product or service, state of mind and outlook on life.

Because other’s perceptions of us are so closely tied to language it’s a big mistake, in a business setting, to use buzzwords incorrectly or that are old and out-dated.  They’re also often used – both unintentionally and intentionally – to complicate rather than simplify issues.  Everyone has been in a meeting, read an email, or talked with a coworker where this happened, resulting in an unfavorable impression of the person.

Many people use buzzwords to try to sound smart, which only gives the impression that they don’t know the topic or are unconfident in addressing it.  They’re also regularly used by people who’re insincere and just “BSing”.  When used incorrectly or excessively buzzwords can do serious damage to your reputation and creditability.

This is particularly true if the business communication is written.  If you’re using buzzwords to impress or cover up a lack of knowledge, but don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s easier for others to see the mistakes and misusages in writing.  And once it’s in writing it’s there forever for anyone to see and mock.

Clear, simple and concise communication will make you sound like you know what you’re talking about, not buzzword filled sentences.  So, the key takeaway here is to pivot your strategy by finding bandwidth to hack and gameify your wheelhouse through synergy.  Or not.