Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everybody! Welcome back! My name is Alisha, and I'm joined again by…
Michael: Michael.
Alisha: And today, we're going to be talking about must-know business buzzwords. Let's get right into it. Michael, what is your first buzzword that we must know?
Michael: First thing I thought of with buzzwords was "synergy." This, I think, is the archetype buzzword that you probably shouldn't use, in my opinion, because it doesn't really mean much, so it's a little bit ambiguous. The rest of the buzzwords I chose, I think, are really useful ones that you're going to use in everyday life, but this one, first thing that came to mind, but it just means kind of working together. But it sounds much more powerful, more exciting, right?
Alisha: Yeah, it really just means to work together with someone else or to work together as part of a group like, "We have good synergy." I think it's a sentence that you might hear, that it just means you work well together, but it's one of those words that sounds, it sounds fancier than it really is but the true meaning isn't so.
Michael: And it's overused, too, right? Right?
Alisha: Yes. Synergy.
Michael: What about you? What's your word?
Alisha: Let's see. What I shall choose for my first one. You can use two words in this phrase. I hear "going forward" or "moving forward," which means just the next step or what you're going to do in the future; your future plans or your future ideas. But I hear it in planning meetings, for example, maybe like, "So, going forward, we expect blah, blah, blah," or "Moving forward, this is what we'd like to do." Just say, "In the future." I don't know why, but "going forward" or "moving forward" sounds kind of like a buzzword to me.
Michael: I'm pretty sure they choose these kinds of word. They have to choose everything they use very carefully to give the right impression. "Going forward" sounds like you're making progress even if you're firing people and your business is going down. Well, you're going forward, you're going in the right direction. Maybe a lot of these buzzwords are a good way to kind of sugarcoat bad news or to make good news sound even better, right?
Alisha: Not all business buzzwords are bad, I don't think. But anyway, going forward.
Michael: This is a good one, and you use this in everyday life, too. "Think outside the box." I think this is good. This is, I would just say, like an idiom. "Synergy," I don't feel like it qualifies as an idiom or something. It's been overused to where you probably shouldn't use it, but "think outside the box" has been used so much that it's now part of our everyday vocabulary, and it just means that in the box means doing what you're supposed to do, doing what you've been told to do, what's the norm, that kind of thing. And if you think outside the box, it's being creative, having a new idea, having something that's never been thought before, not within your realm.
Alisha: Yeah, I think I agree. That has usually a positive image, at least for me. I would say maybe the phrase is guilty of overuse. People will say, "Think outside the box," like, "Yeah, I know." I think, at least in American business culture, I think maybe in my case, you're kind of raised expecting to think outside the box, expecting to have new ideas, so you kind of already feel like you're supposed to be doing that. But it is a good thing to keep in mind. But I think that's a good phrase. You can use that in business settings or in just regular settings, as well casual conversations.
Let's see for my next one, I guess I will choose this one just because I feel like it's overused. This word is "robust." I feel like you can throw in "robust" just about anywhere you feel like a word needs an extra emphasis or something just needs a little extra push like, "We have a robust plan." I hear politicians use this word a lot, as well as business people, but robust is just an emphasizer, really. In my mind, it has kind of—at least, for me—the image of strength, like doing something really, really well or it's very thought through. But it's just sort of an empty word to me, like to have a "robust plan" or we have a "robust program" or whatever. And shouldn't your plan be good? Or shouldn't your program be good? It's a little bit silly to say that again, but that's kind of a buzzwordy buzzword thing for me. Do you get that nuance from the word "robust?" It just feels sort of empty to me.
Michael: Yeah, to me…Robust…I don't know.
Alisha: Okay. Maybe that's just me then.
Michael: I was trying to think of something.
Alisha: Maybe that's just me. Okay, what do you have? What's your next one?
Michael: Let's see. This one is pretty good. My next phrase is "touch base." This is something again you'll hear inside and outside of the business world, and this just means to keep in touch, to make contact. A lot of times, when you're making plans and you're sending emails back and forth, blah, blah, blah. you will say, "Let's touch base. Let's touch base next week," or "When you find out, please touch base with me." Something like that. Or if you're not really sure, you can also say "Keep in contact or keep in touch." Something like that.
Alisha: While we were talking about it, I was actually trying to imagine or trying to think about why this phrase is "touch base," and for a second, I thought it might be baseball-related, but that doesn't make sense. It's not like people come together in baseball and touch the same base at any point but I was thinking about the children's game. A hide-and-seek, is it? Maybe, it's tag, where everybody has to come to one designated base like headquarters for the game, and if they touch base, they're safe. That's kind of like the meeting point, so I'm guessing that in this way, maybe "base" is kind of the meeting point where everybody involved in a project, everybody working together on something can come together and talk about something, but we use it to mean "let's share information." I like that phrase, actually. Do you have a negative image of this phrase?
Michael: No, only the first one that I used was negative. I think the rest is that I try to choose ones that were more positive, but most of them kind of have the negative connotations, like "robust" and "synergy," that kind of thing.
Alisha: "Touch base" is a good one, though. I like "touch base." It's okay.
Michael: What's another word?
Alisha: I've chosen the word "leverage." Leverage is a very buzzy buzzwordy term. It just means to take advantage of something. Like, "We're going to leverage our position in the market to get more sales." It just means to take advantage of something else. But, when you use the word "leverage," as a verb in this way, it sounds so I can leverage our relationship with our client company or whatever. It's like, I don't know, especially in a sentence like that, saying you're going to leverage your relationship with somebody else, it sounds like taking advantage of somebody. I don't really like that word.
Michael: It's like kidnapping: "I have leverage." There's some sort of...
Alisha: Yeah. I don't really like the nuance of that phrase, I guess. Anything else? Any other things you want to throw out there? Idioms, business buzzwords?
Michael: That's pretty much it. Let's touch base next video.
Alisha: Good one.
Michael: See you. Bye.
Alisha: Bye! Thanks very much! We'll see you again next time.