CNNMoney recently asked readers to write in about the business buzzwords they found most annoying. Here’s the results:

  • New paradigm and its evil twin, “paradigm shift”
  • On the same page. 78 readers wrote to say they would be happy never to hear anyone say this again. Ever.
  • Value proposition. “What is this exactly, and why does everything have to have one?” wonders Valerie.
  • Core competencies. “If I hear the head of my division use this phrase one more time, I’m going to throw something at him,” writes Jim. “Something heavy.” Yikes. Division heads everywhere, you’ve been warned.
  • Bottom line when it refers “not to an entry on a financial statement but to a conclusion the speaker wants to force you to accept.”
  • Shooting someone an e-mail or firing off an e-mail
  • A challenge or an issue, when what the speaker really means is a problem
  • No-brainer
  • “At the end of the day…” to start every other sentence
  • Hit the ground running.
  • Touch base
  • Going forward, as in, “Going forward, let’s try not to use so many dumb clichés.” Wonders Dave M: “What else would we do? Go back in time?” As if!
  • Win-win.
  • Mission-critical. Some hate this expression because it is frequently used to imply that one person’s contribution to a project is less important than someone else’s. Others, meanwhile, just think it sounds pretentious when businesspeople talk as if they were flying the Space Shuttle.
  • Thought leader.
  • Reference used as a verb, as in, “Please reference page 12 in your training guide.”
  • Ping, as in “I’ll ping you on this when I hear back from legal.”
  • There is no “I” in “team.” Some are so weary of hearing this, they’ve taken to snapping, “But there is an ‘M’, and look! An ‘E’!”
  • Radar screen, as in, “I’d like to get on your radar screen for a meeting next week.” Asks Oliver, “What are we, air traffic controllers?”
  • Bleeding edge
  • Keep me posted
  • Circle back, as in, “I’m just circling back to you on this.”
  • Cheerleader, as in calling oneself a cheerleader for a project or goal at work.
  • One off. This is a comparatively new figure of speech frequently used to mean “privately,” as in, “You and I will talk about this one off, after the meeting.” It is also apparently why, according to many readers, nothing gets decided in meetings anymore.

Anyone have their favorite buzzword?

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