SMEs warned: Avoid Business Jargon

Speaking Jargon

Business jargon is being widely used in the workplace despite the risk that it can cause confusion and misunderstanding, HR experts have warned.

Speaking Jargon

Research from by serviced office provider MWB Business Exchange revealed that 25% of employees in small firms use business buzz words on a frequent basis, compared with 98% of staff in big companies.

The survey also highlighted that almost three–quarters of employees felt that using business jargon hindered productivity at work. John Spencer, CEO of MWB Business Exchange said:

“A lot of the time it comes down to laziness, as buzz words are used to save time instead of thinking about the most appropriate phrase. Stronger efforts are needed to stamp out business jargon, to avoid misunderstandings in the workplace.”

“Business leaders need to make sure they are understood,” he added. “There is no room for confusion and it’s time to start applying common sense to what we say in the office as well as in the real world. Managers need to set an example and could start by banning certain buzz words from meetings to try to reverse the trend.”

HR consultancy firm King Associates spokeswoman Gill King, agreed that businesses should try to avoid using obscure jargon.

“There is no point using long or clever words just for the sake of it and there’s a concern that if people don’t understand something, they won’t speak up in case they look foolish,” she said.

“Wrapping things up in technical language or corporate speak effectively puts a barrier up between people, and can lead to mixed messages between managers and teams. Worse, it can make it difficult for people to understand their job description or follow specific instructions which may lead to problems elsewhere in the business.”

Unsurprisingly, the research also revealed that most people find business jargon irritating, with one in five rating ‘thinking outside the box’ as the most annoying phrase they hear at work and one in ten voting ‘blue sky thinking’ as the most grating.

For more information on good workplace communication, visit the ACAS website

For more examples of business jargon, visit this bbc article.

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