Is Business Jargon Sabotaging Your Website?
“We utilise blue sky thinking to leverage innovative solutions. Let’s touch base.”
Huh? What is it with business jargon? At best, it sprays a mist of vagueness over your content. At worst, it makes you look dumb.
OK, take a deep breath. I’m about to have a good old rant about 5 examples of business BS that are guaranteed to sabotage your website content. Here they are:
Are you Archimedes? You are? OK go right ahead with leverage. You wrote The Equilibrium of Planes so you have an excuse.
Otherwise, just stop it.
Leverage is the advantage gained by using a lever. Imagine a big rock. You ram a crowbar underneath it, push down and the rock goes up.
It’s a noun – and just because some marketing guy sticks `age’ on the end, this doesn’t suddenly make it a verb.
Have I just spillaged coffee over my keyboardage during my diatribe about this word? No I have not. I spilled it. Hang on while I get a cloth.
A bit like leverage, only worse because this one has an alternative, accurate meaning.
When people write the word utilize in the wrong context, they’re not only trying and failing to sound clever by using an unnecessarily big word when a smaller one would be better, they’re also using the word incorrectly.
Utilize: to make or render useful; to convert to use; turn to account — Oxford English Dictionary
Unless you’re actually taking something and creating an alternate use for it (converting to use), utilize is the wrong word.
If in doubt, go for use. It avoids embarrassment.
3. Innovative, innovate, innovation
To be honest, the whole innovate thing makes me want to utilize a large mallet to leverage shoddy websites into internet oblivion.
First off, is your product or idea actually an innovation? Is your business genuinely innovative? Are you sure? OK, prove it.
These days, it’s not good enough to just say your product is ingenious and original. That judgement call is up to the reader. Their decision should be based on informative content that extols the benefits of your product’s originality and explains what they’ll gain from it.
You have to earn the right to be deemed innovative.
Seriously, would you ever use this word in a real sentence?
“Yum! Fish and chips with vinegar has really great synergy.”
Synergy has been so overused by business that the poor word has been beaten to a pulp. It’s a meaningless filler.
Most readers will simply ignore it – or they’ll click off to your more imaginative competitor.
I’ve left solutions until last, mainly because it’s difficult to describe how much I loathe it.
Solutions are everywhere – business solutions, HR solutions, IT solutions, digital solutions, paperclip solutions (OK, I made that last one up).
Here’s the thing about solutions:
The word doesn’t describe what you do.
When I see a website that promises business solutions, I’m clueless about how these people might help me. What does it mean?
If someone is providing a solution, does this mean they understand the problem? Nope. Do customers always have a problem to solve? Well, no actually. Some businesses just meet a need.
Ice cream solutions, anyone?
If you’re tempted to use solutions, or any other business jargon for that matter, please resist. I’ll leave the last comment to George Orwell who knew a thing or two about words….
“Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.”
Which examples of business BS bring out your inner ranty monster? Go on, get it off your chest. You’ll feel better.