A guide to corporate jargon we hate (and a plea for authentic speech)

Corporate jargon. We’ve all been guilty of using it at one time or another.

When spoken, it causes those around you to roll their eyes.  

Some colleagues might even imagine waterboarding you (maybe).

But that’s it. Annoying, but relatively harmless.

When used in writing, however, it’s deadly.

It stops readers in their tracks. Their thumbs become paralyzed. Their eyes will gloss over. Their concentration dissipates.

Your well-crafted pose is rendered utterly meaningless.

Because jargon and clichés don’t just make for a dry read. They dilute the power of your message.

Instead of shining, clear English, the truth of what you’re trying to say is smothered in clunky gobbledygook.

So, in the spirit of alleviating many of the ‘pain points’ we have when it comes to ‘sticky’ words that make even seasoned ‘Content Evangelists’ squirm – here’s a list of our most hated phrases. 



A simple ‘use’ will suffice, thank you.

Thought leader

We’re not in North Korea. We’re not living in an Orwellian nightmare (or are we?). Share your thoughts, along with your leadership title, and call yourself something else.

Touch base

Don’t alienate co-workers or clients who aren’t touchy-feely people and prefer to keep their personal space. Use ‘let’s meet’ instead.

Reach out

Put your arms down. Just ‘contact’ me instead.


To get someone’s agreement or support without really having to get them involved. Why not just steal their company card and save the buyer-inner some time?


It’s not even a real word, people. Use ‘lessons’ instead.

Key takeaways

No, it’s not a Deliveroo order. Just a boring way to denote you’re summing up the important points.


E.g. productise, folderise. Changing verbs into nouns and nouns in verbs (nounalise and verbify, if you will). It’s a pandemic plaguing much of corporate literature. Please stop.


Next time any of the above enter your head, pause and think about what language is supposed to do in the first place: communicate.

Get this right and you’ll ensure you can leverage your storytelling to maximise viewer buy-in, add value and raise your competitive advantage. Vom.


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