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- 2012 - January - 20th -

Stop using these words ‘I’m just saying’

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

You hear them, read them and might even use them, perhaps not even realizing the spoken or written words you are unleashing.

They’re overused words.

Two organizations recently reported the words they found to be overused and another group’s list from 2009 remains applicable.

To start, LinkedIn, a professional network with more than 135 million members worldwide, released the most overused words and phrases in members’ profiles for 2011. The list was released last month.

The words and terms that LinkedIn said were the most overused by professionals in the United States were:

- Creative

- Organizational

- Effective

- Extensive experience

- Track record

- Motivated

- Innovative

- Problem solving

- Communication skills

- Dynamic

“Creative” also topped the list in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

“Banish buzzwords from your profile,” writes Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s connection director and author.

“Give concrete examples of results you’ve achieved whenever possible and reference attributes that are specific to you,” she said.

Recently, Lake Superior State University in Michigan released its 2011 “List of Banished Words.”

They are:

- Viral

- Epic

- “Fail” as a noun or adjective

- Wow factor

- A-ha moment

- Back story

- BFF

- Refudiate

- Mama Grizzlies

- The American People

- I’m just sayin’

- Facebook and Google as verbs

- Live life to the fullest

Some phrases and words identified in 2009 as overused remain in widespread use.

A national poll by the Accountemps accounting, finance and staffing service included responses from 150 senior executives of the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Accountemps.

Executives were asked: “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the workplace today?” Their responses:

- At the end of the day

- Solution

- Thinking outside the box

- Synergy

- Paradigm

- Metrics

- Take it offline

- Redeployed people

- On the runway

- Win-win

- Value-added

- Get on the same page

- Customer centric

- Generation X

- Accountability management

- Core competency

- Alignment

- Incremental

“A lot of times, these buzzwords are overused and as a means of communication they can be ineffective and confusing,” said an Accountemps news release.

“They do not describe the details of the project or situation, which can create a loss of impact in the communication,” it said.

The company said that as society evolved, other jargon was developed, including:

- Smell test

- Bandwidth

- Low-hanging fruit

- Critical path

- Downward management development

“Be careful when using these words,” cautioned Accountemps, which said they have an effect on “how others view you.”

kmathis@baileypub.com

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