I have asked the channel to ping their existing customers about a discount on training. Say what!

My colleague Diana Waterman asked me this week for my list of least favorite jargon used in business. I quickly came up with five, they are:

  1. Existing customer – as opposed to a, what, non-existing customer, the term should be current customer or just customer.
  2. Discount – when we really mean preferred price or promotional price.
  3. Channel – sorry I just don’t like the term when referring to people.
  4. Training – when we mean education. Horses and dogs are trained, people are educated.
  5. Ping – when used to mean “get in touch with.” I am not an IP address, I would prefer not to be pinged, thanks.

I asked Diana and she graciously allowed my to post her top five as well. They are:

  1. Dialogue – when referring to a conversation. (OK, I am guilty on this one. In all fairness I do try to explain the term.)
  2. Spearhead – when used as a verb meaning to take the lead on on a particular project.
  3. Incentivize – meaning to create an incentive for. PS – incent is not a word either.
  4. Interface – as in have a conversation. Again, this is one of those computer terms that is degrading to use when talking about people.
  5. Socialize  – when speaking about an idea and meaning to talk about it with others.

Please share your list with us. You do not have to have five, but I ask that you limit yourself to five.

16 thoughts on “I have asked the channel to ping their existing customers about a discount on training. Say what!

  1. Laser focus – I have seen too much “laser focus” result in tunnel vision.

    Verbiage – Most believe this to be a fancy word for “content” or “copy”. When this became popular, it actually meant wordiness akin to garbage. Now dictionary’s have the second usage as “The way in which someone expresses themselves; wording.

  2. Here’s my list:

    1. Reseller – as in a value-added reseller (VAR). Sounds like I’m a used car salesman. Partner is a much better term.

    2. Time – as in “thank you for your time.” Do we really care about anyone’s time?

    3. Reach out – as in “I’m reaching out to our customers.” Every time I hear this phrase I have the mental image of the Frankenstein monster reaching out to me.

    4. Best practices – if best practices are really the best then why isn’t everyone the best when they practice them? Best practices lead to becoming the cream of the crap.

    5. Client – when you are referring to a customer. If someone is your client then you are their patron benefactor. I prefer to see my customers as equals and not as clients.

  3. Dawn, none of us are immune. Yesterday, I typed “pole” when I meant “poll”. I got some pretty interesting feedback.

    John, excellent additions! I like your explanation of “client.” Consider it stolen. 😉

  4. Three pet-peeves:

    1- “Let me be frank with you” – what? Have you been lying to me up to this point?

    2 – The word “Fine” – it means nothing (unless you are talking about dishes or pen-points) and can be incredibly passive-aggressive.

    3 – Telling someone you need to “park” part of a conversation or discussion. Are you going to find a legal spot for that or just double park it for a minute?

  5. Ed, you cured me already of “existing” customers, I only have current ones now. And I hardly ever use “training,” especially to describe what I do. And ping is so annoying! (So is “Caio” if one is not Italian…)

    I have to say, I hate the word “incentivize” and would much rather there was a verb “to incent” but there isn’t. However, “incentivize” is a word per Merriam Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/INCENTIVIZE

    I have had customers who despise the word “things” saying that people should be more specific (as in “the things we do”). I found that interesting but I disagree. I think people should write copy the way “we talk” and people say “things” and relate to it…

    I’ll try to think of some of my own. Interesting post.

  6. 1. Busy. We are all busy, whether work or play.

    2. “I have X hundred of email messages.” Are you bragging or complaining.

    3. Any non-specific words. Such as “stuff” or “things”.

    “I’m busy reviewing all my important email which* contains lots of stuff.” *see note 5. B. below.

    4. Two other pet peeves, more on business/social etiquette:
    a. Checking email/text or taking calls during a meeting – tells the person you are meeting with that “this may or may not be more important than you, but let me first check.” And then to tell the person you are on the phone with, “I’m in a meeting, can I call you back?” Why did you answer the phone in the first place?
    b. When I call an office and give my name to the person who answers the phone who then transfers me to the person who I called for and they answer, “Hello?” Like they don’t know who is calling. Really. The person took my name and gave it to you. This is a great opportunity to make the experience more personal.

    5. Inappropriate usage of:
    a. who/that
    b. that/which
    c. to/too/two

    P.S. OK, so 4 and 5 are a bit off topic, but I was given “5.” So technically I added a few more by adding the “A, B, etc.”

    P.S.S. I submit that these are not just things in business. While I am not as much in the business world these days, trust me, I hear the same phrases and see the same behaviors from volunteer organizations, playgroups and friends. Doesn’t matter if its work or play, it’s all the same.

  7. All of your contributions are great!

    @Dan – add the absurd intensifier, “Honestly,” as opposed to everything one has said before?

    @Michelle – I am glad you have purged, “exisiting.” Aloha.

    @Christine – and just how many times have you corrected my that/which problem? Too many for me to count!

  8. This isn’t really jargon but I know someone who uses the words “very” and “basically” like they are going out of style. During her marathon product demonstrations, I’m sure that the prospects are always relieved to know that the software isn’t just easy to use… it’s very, very easy to use and it isn’t just fully featured, it’s very, very, very fully featured.

    Basically, it is very, very annoying.

    I just thank my lucky stars that I remain blissfully ignorant of my own verbal and written faux pas! 🙂

  9. Peter, they are called verbal fillers and ridding oneself of them for most people is a matter of concentration. Nothing will cure it faster than making and listening to a recording and counting the number used in a five minute segment.

    Before joining Toastmasters, I had a moderate “ah/um” problem. After being told I had used it 27 times in a five minute speech, I began a quest to banish it from my speech.

    While the “ah/um” is all but gone, I occasionally add another filler to my speech pattern. I few months ago, it was the word, “generally.” Again, recognition is key, once you recognize it, it is just concentration.

  10. Ed, you are so right. My filler word is AND. I discovered this in Toastmaster’s as well. I knew the Grammarian was counting UMs and AHs, so I avoided those fillers very well. But then I was busted on the ANDs. The good news, as Ed pointed out, is that once you know what your filler is, you can work on it. Just look out for the next filler that you may use as a substitute!!

  11. Christine’s “busy” triggered the thought of the dismissive “Who has time for that?” Sometimes it is used to judge: a not so subtle way of letting you know that what you are spending time on is viewed as not important. Or it is used as an excuse and almost a plea to validate that what one is spending time on are the correct things. “Who has time to Twitter?” really translates to “Who has time to communicate with thought leaders, colleagues, customers and potential prospects?”

  12. For me, the top candidate is this …

    1. User – Software companies and drug dealers are the only folks that refer to customers as “users.”

    A plea to software companies: just stop already! (Drug dealers, you’re in the clear on this one).

  13. Ed, Your list is great as are the additions. My least favorite saying is ” I want to pick your brain.” My gosh, that visual is horrible – who wants to be the airplane food served in “Silence of the Lambs”. And by the way, most of the best parts of my brain (there are only one or two functioning brain cells) have already been picked.

  14. Pet peeves…..

    1. “the same difference” Works when you are talking about equations but rarely anywhere else.

    2. “irregardless” just annoying.

    3. “cross training” We would never say “cross educated” I think I would rather say “capable of performing” functions or roles.

    4. “(fill in whatever) challenged” Came into the lexicon as a politically correct way to refer to a disability. In this use, it is acceptable. To say one is mathematically challenged though bothers me.

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