Guest Blog: Do you hate jargon at work?

Business jargon has always been pretty prominent in the workplace but the internet is allowing us to take a stand. No longer is the latest buzzword exclusive to the executives who go swanning off to meetings with clients and come back spouting nonsense…now we all get to hear these words, and according to a survey we ran at Powwownow many of us aren’t impressed. You’re still more likely to hear business speak in the boardroom, but you aren’t that likely to appreciate it anywhere.

Millennials use jargon more

Interestingly we discovered that ‘generation Y’ workers are much less bothered when people around them using business jargon when compared to their colleagues who have been in the game for a long time. From our sample of professionals we established that 30% of people under the age of 55 think that jargon phrases can be a valid way of expressing something, but just 20% of over-55’s feel the same way.

People tend to be more cynical about colleagues who use business jargon as they get older. 35% of our sample who are younger than 35 said that they believe that fellow workers who use jargon phrases generally know what they’re saying actually means; for people aged between 35 and 55 that percentage is decreased to 25%.

Only 17% of the people we surveyed over the age of 55 think that prolific jargon users know what they’re talking about. Overall, 40% don’t believe that people who are throwing these phrases around know what they mean, saying that they generally trust them less as a result. If you need to brush up, check this guide by Barclays.

You’re safer over email or on the phone

Less than a third of the professionals we asked said that they see business jargon used predominantly over email, which suggests that it’s one of the best ways to communicate if you’re trying to avoid being badgered with annoying phrases; especially when you compare that to the 61% of people who think they’re most likely to hear it if they’re in a meeting, face to face.

Overall the phone is the safest way to communicate when you’re trying to avoid nonsense business terminology according to our sample; only a fifth thought they were likely to hear their colleagues speak using jargon phrases on the phone.

When you consider that half the people we surveyed said they definitely heard business jargon used every single day then it can be quite a difficult thing to avoid. Only a quarter disagreed and said they didn’t hear buzzwords thrown around on an everyday basis.

There’s nowhere better to hear cringe worthy business phrases than in the boardroom. Sometimes it can’t be avoided and we have to force ourselves to listen to our managers spouting off about "blue sky thinking" and the rest; but if you’re speaking to colleagues via email or phone you’re generally much safer from business talk…so next time someone you work with suggests that you "take it offline" you might think about saying no. This however isn’t a new issue, here on CRBonline, we were discussing the matter way back in 1997!

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