Sometimes, recognizing jargon is hard. We’ve heard the say-nothing shortcuts so often that our ears and eyes almost get accustomed to them. Well, the bad news is this: Fixing gunky corporate-speak is even harder than spotting it. It requires swapping the buzzwords for something that actually means something—something specific that matters to your customers, co-workers, or boss. It means substituting the cliché for the crisp and coherent. Don’t worry. These tips will make it much easier. Keep them handy. When you need a jolt out of jargon-land, pull them out and follow the four steps toward a better, clear, sharper way to say what you really mean. Step one: Sleuth Most jargon and buzzwords can be grouped into four categories:
• Nouns as verbs: ideate, incentivize, leverage, etc. • Verbs as nouns: actionable, takeaway, deliverable, etc. • Work that’s not done in an office: drill down, circle back, loop me in, etc. • Nonsense: boil the ocean, drink from a fire hose, build the plane while flying it, etc.