Business Communications are Full of Jargon – What’s Okay and What’s Not?

Jargon is defined as special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.  Quite honestly, the amount of jargon used in communications and meetings is excessive and often adds little meaning.  I’ve compiled a list of over-used phrases, acceptable phrases and the phrases to avoid.

Most Over-Used – the jargon and acronyms on this list should not be much of a surprise. Some are deeply ingrained in our language.

  • LOL (Laugh Out-loud)
  • Ping Me
  • ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)
  • Synergy
  • No-Brainer
  • Keep Me Posted
  • Thx
  • cu later
  • TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)


Acceptable Phrases it’s important to pick and choose when you use these phrases.  Overuse can give the wrong impression and cause you to lose the respect of your clients and co-workers.

  • Open-Door Policy
  • Leverage
  • Take Offline
  • Drill Down
  • Keep Me Posted
  • On My Radar
  • Break the Ice
  • Hit the Ground Running
  • Out of the Loop
  • Transparency
  • ASAP (As Soon As Possible)
  • Takeaway
  • Reinvent the Wheel
  • On the Same Page


Phrases to Avoid – instead of using one of these phrases, say what you really mean. Then you don’t run the risk of people misunderstanding you.

Jargon Say What You Mean
Drinking the Kool-Aid Following the company line
Ducks in A Row Ready or organized
Low-Hanging Fruit Easy opportunities
Bleeding Edge Talk about your new approach or business model
Peel the Onion Take a detailed look at the issue or problem
Win-Win Describe what each party gains
Bandwidth You don’t have the time or resources
Synergy Collaboration or cooperation
Lots of Moving Parts Complex or a lot of working components
My Bad Acknowledge you made a mistake
One Throat to Choke Someone who is fully accountable
FU Say and write follow-up (The abbreviation can be shocking)
Think Outside the Box Think differently or unconventionally
Out of Pocket Say you are away

The next time you have a win-win situation with lots of moving parts that really makes you think outside of the box, don’t drink the Kool-Aid and get your ducks in a row.  What business jargon do you use, and which phrases do you find the most annoying or meaningless?


Contributed by: Amy Noel