Words of the Week – buzzword

Webster’s online dictionary defines a buzzword as “an important-sounding, usually technical, word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen,” or “a voguish word or phrase.”

Parts of these definitions work for me. Buzzwords do tend to be trendy, although they can become overused very quickly in the business world, and they do often sound important because they sound technical. However, I don’t believe that they are “used chiefly to impress laymen.”

People adopt buzzwords because they believe the words perfectly capture difficult business concepts (i.e. going after whitespace). Learning buzzwords and using them correctly will help you understand the priorities of a company or institution and establish rapport with its members, making them especially important for non-native English speakers.

Every posting of “Words of the Week” offers a new buzzword. If you hear one in class or in a conversation with your study group that you’re not familiar with, email me at grayson@mbaintheusa.com and I’ll define it for you. If you’re wondering, I’m sure other people are too!

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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