Clarity is an essential and often overlooked ingredient of effective collaboration. While brainstorming ideas for our Transcribe conversation, the group became very interested in investigating the effect of Business Speak (BS) or buzz words on collaboration.

Buzz words tend to be considered the slop of language, obfuscating meaning and hindering progress. Yet, they can also promote clarity. Buzz words begin as short hand, effectively communicating broader meaning in a context that is quickly understood by others. This short cut can help develop a shared language amongst collaborators attempting to solve a problem, facilitating the clear articulation of the problem and a mutual understanding of the current state.

It is not until buzz words are used too often long after their intended purpose has been lost that they begin to bastardize meaning.

We replaced some of the words in the famous quotes below with a few of our favorite buzz words to demonstrate how they can distort the meaning of some of the clearest ideas. Can you identify the real quotes? Please add your own translations using your favorite buzz words!


  1. You’ve gotta dance like you’re out of pocket.
  2. Be the differentiator that you wish to see in the world. 
  3. No one can make you feel like a pain point without your drinking the Kool-Aid.
  4. Insanity is circling back, over and over again, but expecting a game changer.
  5. Imagination is more of a value add than knowledge.
  6. Never take offline that which you can flush out today.
  7. It is the mark of a robust mind to be able to double-click on a thought without picking the low hanging fruit.
  8. To curate, to drill down, to boil the ocean, but not to parking lot.
  9. A burning platform is the imperative for change.
  10. Opening the Kimono is the best in class practice.