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Yes, Your Coworkers Are Overusing Industry Jargon, And These Numbers Prove It

“It’s time to operationalize through synergy…”

“Let’s table this and circle back later…”

“It all comes down to datafication…”

Chances are you’ve heard your coworkers use industry jargon like this on more than one occasion. It’s the kind of language that on the surface seems insider and intelligent… but you just can’t shake the feeling that it’s actually a little bit phony.

Well, the recent American Express OPEN ‘Get Business Done’ Survey confirms your suspicion.

As this Ladders article breaks down:

88% of respondents said they use jargon without understanding it, and 64% reported using words and terms like this “multiple times” weekly.

Now that’s a significant number. And to be honest, it’s kind of an alarming one. It suggests an inherent lack of authenticity and understanding that should concern us all.

But as the article calls out, “If you want to engender trust from not only team members, but your boss, be yourself and you’ll attract so much more commitment and loyalty from people.”

I 100% agree with this statement. While it may be tempting to try and borrow from industry buzzwords to seem smarter than the rest of the room, in the end people will see right through it. And on the flip side, when you are your true self, people recognize that too.

That’s what I hope you take from this article. Here are a few more stats from the study that are worth paying attention to:

  • Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they drop “industry jargon” every day at work, compared to 36% who do two to three times weekly, 16% who do once weekly, 7% every 2-3 weeks, 4% who don’t even use it once per month, and 10% who don’t at all.
  • Forty percent surveyed said they’re unaware that they use it because it’s a habit, 35% do “for fun/to secretly test people,” 25% do for assimilation purposes, 24% do to come off as intelligent, and 19% do so to avoid questions.
  • When they use jargon, 48% said it’s enjoyable, 45% said they are “amused,” 14% don’t like it, 11% said they stop paying attention and 11% are puzzled by it.