When promoting your personal brand or business, it is likely that you use buzzwords that spark interest, but don’t especially add value to your conversation.
The way you communicate and how you use words goes a long way in helping you to deliver the message that you want that has an impact on your audience. If your vocabulary is made up of too many buzzwords, then there’s a chance you might be upsetting your audience, rather than uplifting them.
A lot of buzzwords become popular simply because they become commonplace. However, you need to check you’re not using buzzwords that don’t add value or that cause confusion or trouble for your audience.
There are many buzzwords that we are fond of using, both in emails and on LinkedIn, that are downright detrimental to your efforts to communicate effectively.
What are some overused buzzwords online?
Nowadays, it is difficult to go through a personal profile online or a bio without seeing words like
- – Guru
- – Growth Hacker
- – Synergistically
- – Organic
- – Bandwidth
- – Viral, etc.
Most of these words are supposed to help send a specific message but most times, they put off your audience.
Here are some other common buzzwords that have become overused and outdated, and should not be part of your content when you are promoting your business or personal brand:
- – Synergy – this is used to describe many elements that work together to make a total effect. The problem with the term is that businesses tend to overuse it when referring to teams and other similar situations, so it has lost its value.
- – Outside the box – this is used to describe creative and innovative thinking. For a long time, it was used when talking about situations where a creativity is required. This also no longer carries any significance.
- – Growth hack – low-budget, fast-thinking marketing strategies fall in this category. Not everything that is new, cheap and effective is a growth hack. This is why we refer to the term as a buzzword. It does not do a good job of explaining what strategies or techniques are being used for achieving the desired results. It is not advisable to use this buzzword as it creates more confusion than it does clarity.
- – Millennials – Another common buzzword that lumps together every person in a specific generation without any effort to explain the term. It’s another buzzword that generalises the meaning and can create confusion in your messaging.
- – Moving/going forward – This is another expression that you must stop using in your communication as it is practically useless. A business is always moving forward “go forward” with the team, clients and in strategies.
Why should you avoid buzzwords?
Humans read your content and they want to feel like you are making a connection with them, and not just copy-pasting something that’s generic or that they’ve seen everywhere else, in order to help decision makers pay attention to your content.
These buzzwords may sound great to our own people (those peers in our industries) but to the outside word, these words are becoming annoying and de-humanising. But it’s not too late to make changes to your content to make it engaging and impactful.
Using ‘acceptable’ buzzwords
Some buzzwords are acceptable because they are the most effective way of getting certain points across, especially in niche industries. For example, a digital marketing professional will find that they make use of ‘viral’, ‘organic’, ‘creative’ and some other words a lot.
Remember the golden rule when using buzzwords … you need to make sure that you only use them sparingly in your text. Make sure they are acceptable and useful to the context that you are writing and the audience that you are directing it to.
- – Only use a buzzword for your content if it is an industry term that is absolutely critical to the meaning of the information you are about to share.
- – When using words like “leadership” and “specialised”, it is important to qualify them appropriately so they are more effective in the context and tell the reader exactly what you are skilled at doing. Using terms like “educational leadership” or “leadership development” carry more meaning than just the buzzword.
- – Keep buzzwords to the barest minimum so that even when you need to use them, they complement your content.
Make your content ‘human’
If you’re feeling your audience slip away because you’ve used the wrong language or too many buzzwords, why not try writing to them in a more sincere tone. Remember they’re people, not cash machines.
Make sure your content is conversational and genuine. If you feel like a buzzword is too much, find a simpler, straightforward way to say the same thing. Review your content thoroughly and at each reading, take away a buzzword and replace it with a less annoying one while retaining the meaning. Why use a cliché when you can simply say what you mean and communicate better?
Using the right words ensures that your audience gets the exact meaning you are trying to convey without being verbose. This makes you a better communicator to colleagues, team and your audience.
Show rather than tell
Instead of using buzzwords to describe your attributes, why not tell a story that illustrates what you are trying to say?
Instead of saying “experienced,” why not use something like “5 years of experience in training interns”? This helps you to show what you are capable of doing besides just being a buzzword user.
Everybody has a story to tell and it is up to each person to sell their unique selling points to the audience. If you are selling a product, make use of specific figures, examples or testimonials to highlight what you are trying to show them.
Don’t just throw around “creative” on your LinkedIn profile. Instead, describe things you have done that portray your creativity and innovation.
Overall, make sure to always use your better judgement to ensure that your content is down to earth and resonates with your target audience.
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