COVID-19 isn’t the only virus affecting workplaces in 2020.

Whilst business buzzwords aren’t new, in recent times, their use has gone viral.

In theory, buzzwords are meant to simply describe a concept or action.

In reality, buzzwords confuse and annoy – at “scale”.

Buzzwords are contagious.

It only takes one person to infect an entire organisation…just one manager with the desire to make something “ordinary” sound “extraordinary” – and BOOM! Herd mentality ensures that the buzzword becomes part of the company lingo.

It’s unlikely that an effective vaccine will be found any time soon. No-one wants to be the one to tell a colleague to just say what they mean. That’s not what “team players” do!

For now, all we can do is help the confused and annoyed to navigate workplace conversations as best they can.

You’re welcome!



What it actually means…



A term that describes people who frustratingly change their mind quickly and often.


As per my email


A passive aggressive reference to a previous email that went unread.


Best Practice  

Opposite of “worst practice”.


Blue sky thinking  

An original idea that has a low probability of success.




Two or more people sharing ideas in the hope that bonding will make them smarter.


Career limiting move  

Any action that annoys someone in a position of power.


Career terminating move  

Any action that annoys someone in a position of power that results in unemployment.


Core competency  

Excelling at the office lunchtime yoga class.




Formerly referred to as “change”.


Early adopters  

People who do things first. Tend to also be fans of buzzwords.


Elevator Pitch  

30 second self-promotion script.


Employee of the Month  

Someone who knows how to schmooze the person who chooses the Employee of the Month.


Going forward  

Opposite of “going backward”.



An “expert” with long hair and a large ego.


Giving 110%  

A mathematically challenged “busy” person.



Heads up


A warning that something really bad is about to happen.
Hot desking  

Sharing germs randomly via office furniture.


“I’m so busy”  

A phrase used to justify putting off doing something that is not a priority.



Someone who has found a way to be monetise telling others what to do or buy.


It is what it is  

An unhelpful statement used to distract others when a person cannot think of something useful to say.


It’s not rocket science  

A term used by people (other than astronauts) to describe something that is not difficult.


It’s on my radar  

What a “busy” person tells someone to make them go away.



A term used by entrepreneurs to describe their “job”.


Lean in  

To have a go. (May also occur during the lunchtime yoga class).


“Let’s touch base offline”  

Informing someone during a meeting that you will chastise them privately later.



The ability to get others to do what you want them to do.



New normal



A term used by people who mistakenly believe that things used to be “normal”.



No brainer



Not enough bandwidth


An excuse used by a “busy” person to make someone else do their work for them.

Telling new employees where the coffee machine and toilets are.


Organic growth  

The trajectory of a business that can’t afford to pay for marketing.



Out of the loop


Being left out of something – usually on purpose.


A term used to make a failure sound like an opportunity.


Purpose Something that guides people who are “living their best life”.


Put on backburner A kind way of saying that something will never go ahead.

To reach out



To contact another person. (Important: to avoid involvement of HR must not involve any actual touching).



Performing work whilst simultaneously home schooling and sourcing toilet paper.


Risky Business  

A restaurant that adds bat soup to their menu. (Also a Tom Cruise film from the 80’s).



A person who wants to be an “entrepreneur” but can’t afford to hire anyone other than themselves. Also known as a “sole trader”.



The efficient business growth that entrepreneurs dream of. K-ching!


Serial Entrepreneur  

A person who starts a number of businesses because the market doesn’t share their “vision”.


Side hustle  

An Etsy or other business created by someone who wants to escape their “real job”.


Start up  

An entrepreneur’s latest new business.



Think outside the box


What “blue sky thinkers” do…but with a box.

Thought leader


A “guru” with shorter hair and a smaller ego.

Something that has allegedly never happened before.



A belief you are expected to hold when you join a new company. (Also, anything from Aldi).



Something that spreads. Like a rash. Not necessarily a good thing.



A company’s goals for the next 5-10 years…or until they have to “pivot”.



When both people give things up in order to reach an agreement.



Working my fingers to the bone


A work ethic boast used by people who tend to not work with their hands.



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