5 Business Buzzwords to Know Before Your Next Meeting

Posted on September 23, 2019 | Author: Doug Phares

Buzzwords: A Necessary Evil

I’ve been in and out of boardrooms for longer than I’d like to admit. Over that time, I’ve seen a lot of phrases come, go, and circle back around again. I’m not a huge fan of jargon myself, but if you’re going to hear it, you’re better off knowing what it means. “Level Set” and “Dry Powder” seem to have had their time and are making way for this new crop.

1. Synergy

Basically, “synergy” refers to how much collaborating is happening between your business units, or operational departments. It too often comes up when someone is certain a restructuring or new acquisition will “fix” something bad management has allowed to fester. It can be good for your business, just don’t let it hide problems.

2. Granular

When someone wants to talk about some “granular ideas,” they’re ready to discuss the smaller, more minute parts of a plan. Bosses often choose to get “granular” at late stages in big projects that they should have been monitoring, but have not. Discipline yourself to engage early stage and let a good team handle the “grains” themselves.

3. Pain Point

I use this one a lot when I’m figuring out exactly what a client needs to fix. It is usually an operational problem, not a strategic one. Often, it needs addressed by fixing a process somewhere upstream of the actual issue or clearing a blockage downstream. If you have a “pain point,” get some distance from the issue and follow the work flow both ways to see if there are small changes that can address it.

4. Deliverable

The name is fairly straightforward, but I still see this one get used every now and then. A deliverable is anything that you (surprise) deliver for a project. So if I have an excel doc filled with numbers that I need to turn in, that’s my deliverable. Contrary to how I’ve heard it used, things like goals and actions are not deliverables.

5. Disrupter

Ah, disrupter, one of the most popular buzzwords of the 2010s, and one of the most misused. A disrupter is essentially anything that’s expected to dramatically change the way an industry functions. If Netflix decided to offer targeted streaming ads, that would be a disrupter for television. Typically, you’ll hear this come up any time someone needs to fill space in their presentation and really bring home the message that, “This is a good idea that you should take seriously.” Your mileage will vary with how often an idea described as a disrupter will actually change anything.

Just because I prefer speaking plainly doesn’t mean I can’t throw around buzzwords with the best of them. Check out this list and make sure that you understand these 5 common buzzwords. I promise you that they’ll be popping up whether you like them or not!

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