A young woman is blocking her ears so that she cannot hear the most-hated office buzzwords.
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Ranked: 30 of the most-hated office buzzwords

27 May 2021

From ‘circling back’ to ‘giving 110pc’, here’s the workplace jargon workers find most annoying, according to GetResponse.

What are the words that make you shudder in the workplace? The ones your manager says in team meetings that would make your eyes roll if you weren’t on screen in a video call. The phrases your CEO keeps returning to at company townhalls or the terms you keep coming across in job ads as you search for a new role.

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‘Synergy’ tops the list of the overall most-hated office buzzwords. That’s according to automated marketing company GetResponse, which wanted to learn more about the worst offenders when it comes to workplace jargon.

It surveyed more than 1,000 US workers in 2019 and ranked their responses according to different categories. One category grouped the most-hated jargon for ‘better results’, while others include the worst jargon to describe an ideal candidate, the most common jargon for ‘work harder’ and the most passive-aggressive email lines.

“If you work in a business setting, you’ve probably heard, or even used, at least one of the many cliché business terms that float around most offices,” GetResponse said.

“From bosses strategising on how to get the ‘biggest bang for their buck’ to a co-worker sending you a slightly passive-aggressive email that starts with ‘Just a friendly reminder…’, it’s everywhere and it can be equal parts annoying and exhausting.

“Business jargon has become so overused that it often lessens the impact of what’s being said and undermines the credibility of whoever is saying it.”

After ‘synergy’, some of the other most-hated office buzzwords overall included ‘touch base’ at number three, ‘raising the bar’ at number four, ‘give 110pc’ at number 13, ‘move the needle’ at number 19, and ‘value-add’ at number 27.

An infographic showing some of the most-hated office buzzwords in the US.

Click to enlarge. Infographic: GetResponse

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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