A recent Accountemps survey has substantiated what many already suspected — phrases like "at the end of the day" and "cutting edge" have become overused in the workplace.
"When business or industry terms become overused, people stop paying attention to them," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "The best communicators use clear and straightforward language that directly illustrates their points."
The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 150 senior executives from the 1,000 largest companies in the U.S.
Executives were asked, "What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today?" Their responses included:
-- Leverage: As in, "We intend to leverage our investment in IT infrastructure across multiple business units to drive profits."
-- Reach out: As in, "Remember to reach out to customers impacted by the change."
-- It is what it is: As in, "The server is down today, and clients are irate. It is what it is."
-- Viral: As in, "Our video has gone viral."
-- Game changer: As in, "Transitioning from products to solutions was a game changer for our company."
-- Disconnect: As in, "There is a disconnect between what the consumer wants and what the product provides."
-- Value-add: As in, "We have to evaluate the value-add of this activity before we spend more on it."
-- Circle back: As in, "I'm heading out of the office now, but I will circle back with you later."
-- Socialize: As in, "We need to socialize this concept with our key stakeholders."
-- Interface: As in, "My job requires me to interface with all levels of the organization."
-- Cutting edge: As in, "Our cutting-edge technology gives us a competitive advantage."
Accountemps conducted a similar survey in 2004. The following buzzwords were cited in both surveys:
-- At the end of the day
-- Think outside the box
-- On the same page
Some phrases cited in the most recent survey suggest executives are suffering from recession fatigue, including: recession, depression, economy, do more with less, restructuring, downsizing, gloom and doom, pay freeze, bailout and overworked.