Business speak

“Business speak” is boring and poor journalism.  It is the stuffy language you see in letters or speeches by some people in finance, IT, law and politics.

Here are examples of what to avoid and how better to say it:


Boring “business speak” Better language Boring “business speak” Better language
Realistically speaking, the bottom line is basically that we will evaluate the issue in its context, and basically commit ourselves to endeavouring to achieve a more appropriate scenario with better outcomes for all stakeholders. This piece of business speak nonsense comes from Don Watson’s wonderful book “Weasel Words”.  Get this book if your writing in any way resembles business speak.
absence of no paradigm shift change position
absolutely What’s it mean??
accountabilities responsibilities think outside the box be imaginative
this is to inform you Never needed filled to capacity Full
acquaint inform or tell under the circumstances in this case
on account of the fact that because for the month of May for May
adjacent to near for your information Never needed
by means of with or by fullest possible extent Waffle!!  Write: fully
despite the fact that although in the vicinity of near
not withstanding the fact that although or even though with reference to on or about
draw the attention of show in spite of the fact that despite
attached herewith please find attached is address (an issue) consider, deal with
facilitate help or ease advise inform, tell
to bring a strategic presence to come to a meeting aggregate (the noun) total
forward send amongst among
going forward Never needed anticipate expect (unless you really do mean anticipate)
in excess of more than (preferred to “over”) ascertain find out
initiate start, begin back-end infrastructure Uh?
in terms of Aaaggh!
is indicative of indicates capable able
located in in cease stop
methodology method, way commence begin or start
paradigm model, system, way of doing things consequently so
obtain get consumer usability use (noun)
point in time time defer put off
prior to before endeavour try
purchase buy sufficient enough
regarding about synergy working together
require want or need terminate end, finish
service delivery use utilise use
subsequent to after whilst while


And, if you ever use the word “parameter” I will demand that you to define exactly what it means.  All editors of mainstream publications HATE business-speak.  I assume you do too.

Weight of words is a truly excellent article on this topic.

Also, if you’re willing to read an excellent 2000-word article on this topic, please email me and ask for “What the hell are you talking about?” (the EXACT phrase please).  Both by email only.

Other BORING boring words and phrases:

  • key performance indicators
  • benchmarking
  • key stakeholders
  • downsize
  • mapping
  • core competencies
  • capabilities
  • didactic
  • continuous improvement
  • strategic
  • viability
  • transformative learning
  • utilize
  • implementation
  • best practice
  • customer focused
  • going forwards
  • value-add
  • game plan
  • paradigm shift


Words that are mostly useless and could simply be edited out without changing the sense of what you’re communicating:

  • absolutely
  • actually
  • basically
  • currently
  • certainly
  • definitely
  • clearly
  • concerning
  • correctly


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