You may recall the first three parts of this series, in which I talked about the annoying tendency to over-use business buzzwords on LinkedIn, resumes, and other social profiles. Many of today’s professionals are still overusing business jargon in order to sound trendy, intelligent, and impressive, often causing the audience to roll their eyes with lack of amusement.

This time around, I’d like to take a look at phrases business professionals tend to overuse in interviews to appear business savvy, focusing more on big words than on problem-solving examples or genuine conversation.

  1. Around the Corner Thinking” This is the new variation of “outside the box” thinking. Don’t tell me you’re an around the corner thinker, show me definitive results of situations that have happened at work and how you’ve conquered them with thoughtful problem solving!
  2. “30 Thousand Foot View” This phrase is used frequently to describe the “high level” overview of something, or taking a look at the big picture. Professionals who tend to overuse this phrase can come across as sounding pompous.
  3. “Synergy” This word essentially means “combined effort” and “cooperation.” While an effective phrase when used properly and sparingly, synergy is often used by those wishing to appear trendy and up-with-the-times. Try “collaborate” to not get lost in the shuffle of clichés.
  4. “Touch Base/Reach Out/Connect” A more direct way to say “let’s touch base” would be “when can I expect to hear from you?” Touching base simply means to communicate or to let someone know how things are proceeding. For some unexplained reason, this phrase, paired with “reach out” and “connect,” is overused by most professionals instead.
  5. “Bleeding Edge” This newer phrase apparently refers to the “very edge of the ‘cutting edge.’” Instead of a heavy focus on today’s trendiest buzzwords such as this, bring examples to the table of how your projects or results are on the cutting edge in your industry.

In an effort to become less of a cliché, professionals must recognize the absurdity of such phrases and the responses they receive. Not only are these phrases typically unnecessary, they usually fail to add any prestige to the conversation. In an effort to avoid more eye-rolling, business professionals should undoubtedly consider leveraging these words less often and focus instead on examples or real results.


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