5 Pointless Buzzwords That Make You Sound Like a Pretentious A-hole

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Have you ever seen the episode of 30 Rock where Jack Donaghy, a business-savvy CEO, shamelessly shows his love of buzzwords?

If not, check out this clip:

Obviously, the show’s writers are poking fun at the fact that big-shot executives just love meaningless buzzwords. And – make no mistake – those words are used way too often.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, business jargon bores and confuses your potential customers, sending them off to your competitors.

You don’t want that now, do you? Of course not.

So, let’s talk about some of these pointless buzzwords to avoid to make sure you don’t sound like a pretentious a-hole on your website.

1. Leverage

I once had a boss who said “leverage” constantly. 

And I’d just sit there thinking, Dude, why can’t you just say “use” instead!?

The word “leverage” has become disturbingly popular, especially for B2B companies, but that doesn’t mean you should plaster it all over your website. Doing so will just make you seem stuffy and unapproachable.

2. Utilize

“Utilize” is another word that can easily be replaced with “use.”

I mean, think about it. Do you ever say the word “utilize” in everyday conversation?

No. You don’t.

And your customers don’t either. So stop saying it in your website copy and making yourself seem out of touch.

3. Synergy

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Via CloudTweaks.com

The word “synergy” refers to a mutually beneficial relationship between two groups. Most executives use it to talk about teamwork and positive interactions.

So, technically it might describe how you work with your customers, but you still shouldn’t use it. Like the other buzzwords I’ve mentioned here, it has lost its meaning because everyone overuses it. Your customers will scan right over it, giving no thought to the supposed “synergy” you strive for.

Instead of using the word “synergy” in your website copy, plainly talk about how you specifically help your customers.

4. Best-in-class

Your business offers “best-in-class” solutions, huh?

Well, instead of telling people about it in your website copy, show them. After all, anyone can claim that they’re the best, but not many can prove it.

Slap some customer testimonials up on your homepage and create a page on your website full of case studies that provide proof of how awesome you are.

5. Customer-Focused

Again, this is simply a claim that anyone can make on their website. If you’re truly “customer-focused,” you shouldn’t have to say it.

Instead of using this buzzword, survey your customers and ask them to rate your business. Then, you can showcase those ratings on your website (hopefully, they’ll be positive!). And don’t forget to grab a few testimonials to use as proof of the quality of your customer service!

Bottom line: to draw in your audience, stop sounding stuffy and start sounding relatable.

Keep it Plain, Simple, and Persuasive

The average American adult reads at a 7th or 8th-grade level, so you can bet no one wants to trudge through chunks of complex website copy on your site.

And yeah, with certain audiences, you may need to sound a bit more professional – but that doesn’t mean you should use buzzwords. Instead, be direct — and better results are sure to follow.

I’d encourage you to try an A/B test like this with your website copy. See what happens when you ditch the jargon.

And remember, if you’re feeling unsure about your website copy, you can always use the Hemingway App to test its readability. The simpler your copy is, the better!

Which of these buzzwords do you wish would disappear? Share below!

Shop-Ad-June-2015

About the Author

Jorden Roper

Jorden Roper is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog and the founder of Cutthroat Copy, a copywriting team that specializes in helping IT/Tech companies reach their goals with strategic content marketing. Follow her on Twitter for marketing tips and more!

Comments

  1. Brianna says

    Utilize is easily the most pointlessly elitist word in the English language and I sincerely commend you for bringing this notion to the forefront of my inbox. Thank you for this gem, loved the article

    • Jorden Roper says

      “Pointlessly elitist” is definitely a good way to describe these buzzwords. And I totally agree that “utilize” is just awful!

      Thanks for reading, Brianna!

  2. dawn quiett says

    Customer facing,
    Thought leaders, Hyper local, Monetize, bandwidth
    I had an interview with a guy who dropped all sorts off buzz words. He asked if I understood what he was saying. I smiled sweetly and said “I do. I am fluent in pretentious asshole”.

  3. says

    Thank you for this customer focused, Best-in-Class article. I will leverage it to utilize thinking outside the box in a synergestic manner as I move forward to mazimize the monetization of stuff (I can’t think of a buzzword to end it with-hahaha). Seriously, thank you for a spot-on article ;-D

    • Jorden Roper says

      You’re welcome, Kathy! Hopefully you can leverage it to create synergy between your best-in-class business and your customers. Haha. 🙂

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