What’s all the buzz? Buzz words have been with us for many a year

I’ve been away from corporate America for several years now, but I can still remember all the buzz words used that seemed not only a bit silly, but typically unnecessary. Employees would use them oftentimes because it was the popular thing to do or to fit in with the crowd.

Buzz words have been around for a long time. Years ago, mostly in corporate America, the term, “let’s run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it,” meant, let’s present it or put it out in the open to see if we can get approval. That was also back in the day when another term for approval was, “buy in.” We always needed to get someone’s, “buy in” before proceeding. Did anyone ever suggest to you that we, “peel back the onion?” Essentially that meant, let’s dig deeper into the problem. If something was a “nonissue” it was another way of saying it was irrelevant.

Still used today, “synergy,” was once something that flowed smoothly. I can also remember when an executive stated after a merger that we can “take advantage of our synergy” that really meant “get ready for a layoff.” “Core competency” was another popular term. It was another way of saying we will stick to what we do best. Those dressed in Scuba gear were once the only people who would do a “deep dive.” But the term eventually became synonymous with looking into a problem to figure out its cause. It’s also known as a “drill down,” having nothing to do with a power tool.

One might think a “Customer Journey” would describe a pleasant cruise in a tropical paradise. It may be for some, but not for others. Per Indeed.com, “a Customer Journey is a phrase that describes every interaction a customer has with a business, from their initial interest in a product to requests for support after making a purchase.” Anyone who has ever had to call for tech support can agree that it is typically in no way a cruise in a tropical paradise.

Visibility was once something you hoped for while driving in a New England Nor’easter. It then became something you aspired to get so you could get recognized and promoted at work. (You needed visibility to senior management, like you were totally invisible initially).

When we watch our beloved Red Sox play, we always hope for a “quick win.” A “quick win” today may also be a successful pitch at work that is approved at warp speed.

A search of Top Ten buzzwords of the last decade revealed that “tea” is no longer a cup of Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey, or English Breakfast, but it’s also part of the term, “Spill the Tea,” or get the latest gossip on someone.

“Lit,” no longer just means a person has over imbibed, but it’s something that is amazing or exciting.

Back in the 50’s, Elvis Presley once sung about being “All Shook Up,” but now on social media, users of the word often are “shook,” when their favorite musical artists drop new content or when they see a movie with a huge plot twist. I can remember when we went to bed at night, we would pull down the shade in each window to allow more privacy. Today, “throwing shade” at someone is just not being very nice.

As a kid in the 60’s, if I were “thirsty,” I would head to the nearest source of water. But today, being “thirsty” is someone acting desperate or eager. Also, as a kid, if you wanted to impress someone you might “flex” your muscles, assuming you had something to flex. Today, to “flex” means to show off or brag, typically in a not so humble or unsubtle way.

And finally, “Freemium.” Freemium content is used to introduce customers to the paid version of a product by offering a simplified version for free (a combination of the words “free” and “premium”). Looks like existing customers get nothing.

Buzz words. Ya gotta love ’em. Can’t wait to see the next generation (which by the way, is also a buzz word).

Don Canney is a freelance writer and professional voice artist. He was born and raised in downtown Nashua with great interest in Nashua history circa 1950-1970. He now resides in Litchfield.