We’re all guilty of it: using jargon to wave our hands over complex ideas. I won’t even discuss the way architects make up their own words. Others have already done a fine job of pointing that out with clever wit. Yes, architects, engineers, general contractors and especially software executives, please pay careful attention.

We use jargon in everyday speech and presentations at the office. Often these verbal crutches mask their true meaning to soften the blow, and have long ago lost their impact (I’m looking at you “Value Engineering”). Other examples can be so obscure, that sometimes it’s required to step off the soap box to explain.

Heck, even my blog’s name ‘Paradigm shift‘ may be considered out-dated. Bear in mind I did start writing this blog in early 2006; so it’s grandfathered in.

Here’s a list of phrases, words and general business jargon we could do without ever hearing ever again:

  • Multitasking (thanks despair.com)
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Table Stakes
  • Thinking Outside the Box
  • Value Engineering
  • Blue Sky Opportunity
  • Boil the Ocean
  • Take Offline
  • Utilize, utilization, usage and other variants… Just say ‘use’
  • Empower
  • CAD, drafting, or (my personal favorite) CAD it Up!
  • Peel the Onion
  • Working in Silos
  • BIM Model – thanks James for that important public service announcement
  • “We’ve sent your request to the development team for consideration in future versions of the product” — ’cause we all know that generally means: “don’t count on it”

For the residential architects and designers out there:

  • Bonus Room
  • Great Room
  • Foyer, unless it’s the classic ‘All Foyer House
  • Man Cave — drink, Betsy

Last but not least: one of the most offensive, and winner of Forbes 2012 viewer bracket “Drinking the Kool-Aid”. Because nothing motivates a team to be loyal and work hard more than reminding them of an over 900 person mass suicide / massacre in 1978. Go ahead, and read for yourself before you ever utter that phrase again at the office. If you do, be accurate at least and call it Flavor Aid.

I’m looking forward to a more thoughtful and thought-provoking 2014. Did I miss anything? Please add your thoughts to the comments or reply on Twitter using the hashtag: #JargonBeGone

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