Survey Reveals Most Annoying Buzzwords, Terms and Phrases in the Workplace

Here’s the article from Marketing Today about business buzzwords gone bad.

Some of my favorites from the list were:

  • “At the end of the day”
  • “Solution”
  • “Thinking outside the box”
  • “Value-added”
  • “Get on the same page”

Some annoying phrases I’d like to ADD to the list would be:

  • “Not just THRIVING but SURVIVING”
  • “Peace of mind”
  • “Movers and Shakers”
  • “It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity”

Also, play a game of Buzzword Bingo @ – this is hilarious!


What annoying business buzzwords are on your list?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Creative Lists Teach You About Yourself, Your Business and Your Customers

Creating lists help you examine your ideas, thoughts and problems visually, often resulting in patterns. This works better than thinking or talking because humans remember that which appeals to their vision three times as well as any other sense. So, creating lists will widen the areas of your memory circuit and allow your information to become clearer.

Here’s a great example: try making a list of “10 Problems My Customers Complain About.” This exercise will identify several key difficulties for which your business has solutions. Not to mention, this is great information to memorize for future conversation with those customers.

If you read any resource, book or website on creativity, all of them will tell you the same thing: lists stimulate and challenge your creativity. Sure, it’s easy to pin down one answer to a problem or question. But what about 5? 7? 10? Forcing yourself to adhere to a set number of required items will generate greater depth and breadth of your ideas. Especially when you start making lists of 25, 50 and 100, you’re bound to stretch you mind to its very limits!

So, maybe we need to be more willing to approach ourselves. After all, Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Here are a few of my favorite lists, all of which I’ve completed and update/cross off regularly. I encourage you to take some time in the next few weeks to write a few of them out:

  • 101 Goals for 2005
  • 25 Best Pieces of Business Advice I Ever Got
  • 25 of My Favorite Success Stories to Tell
  • 7 Characteristics of Your Ideal Client
  • 12 of the Stupidest Things You’ve Ever Done
  • 12 of the Smartest Things You’ve Ever Done


How have lists educated you about yourself, your business or your customers?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Using Taglines for Memorable Personal Branding

My friend Wendy, owner of CIO Services, used to do a lot of tech support. Although she now focuses more on consulting, writing and speaking, she told me about an old tagline that always generated business.

“When you’re ready to throw your computer out the window – give me a call.”

It’s funny. It’s memorable. And it captures the common pain of computer frustration. Think about it: How many people have, at one point, wanted to throw their computer out the window?

Wendy told me that people ALWAYS called back after she said that tagline. And although tech support wasn’t exactly the main part of her businesses, it certainly helped open the door! (Or window, as it were.)

Here’s a great article from Ibiz Tips about taglines and personal branding.


What’s your personal branding tagline?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Don’t start a conversation by talking about the weather

Because I once lived in Portland, Oregon where it rained 300 days of the year, I never complained about the weather. Another reason I didn’t complain about the weather is because, without it, 90% of the world wouldn’t know how to start a conversation!

But seriously…I’ve read almost every book on how to start conversations, mingling, breaking the ice and meeting people – and I have yet to find one that doesn’t advise the following:

“Talking about the weather is an effective way to start a conversation.”

No it isn’t. It’s a terrible way. And just because it’s easy and everyone uses it doesn’t make it effective. Starting a conversation about the weather actually means you’ve settled for starting a conversation about the weather; which makes your conversation partners feel like you’ve settled for them too. Every time you do it, you also show the other person you aren’t a good enough conversationalist to talk about anything other than the weather. So, unless there’s a good reason such as a tornado, hailstorm, monsoon, meteor shower or lightning happened to strike your cat – think of something else. You can do better than that. I believe in you.

Here are a few tips on ways to start conversations, and a great post by my friend Don the Idea Guy.


How does it make you feel when people talk about the weather?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Man freely gives out cell phone number, offers to meet callers anywhere

A phone message to the nation: Please call 510-872-7326; Marc Horowitz wants to meet you for dinner.

Go ahead — dial it. If he doesn’t answer, just leave him a message. That’s what thousands of people have done after seeing his number on a dry-erase board in a Crate & Barrel catalog photo last fall.

Horowitz, a conceptual artist in San Francisco, was working as a photo assistant on a catalog shoot when he came up with an idea for an art project that would question social barriers.

The dry-erase board looked too blank, so he decided to write his cellphone number on it — and maybe take a road trip to meet anyone who called.

“Conversation is ART,” said Horowitz, “and strangers have so much to learn from each other!”

SO…I called him today, and he actually called me right back! He was sitting in his van outside a cafe somewhere in SoCal after doing a radio interivew and sleeping one hour. Boy is this guy dedicated. But he was incredibly nice, very smart and has some great ideas set up for the future of his movement. And although he’s only been on the road a few weeks, everything’s going great!

Wow. Just a GREAT idea. This guy is right up my alley. Talk about a front porch.


When was the last time YOU had dinner with a stranger?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

The Sacred Art of the Pick-Up Line

A pick-up line is ONE way to conversation, but it’s usually not an EFFECTIVE way. About a year ago I was dancing at a local club. My friend Dave introduced me to a woman named Alexis. After we shook hands she asked, “So Scott…do you have any friends named Alexis?”

“Uh, well yeah…there was a girl I went to college with named Alexis.”

“Okay, well let me ask you this,” she said as she pressed herself against my body, “Have you ever RIDDEN in Alexis before?”


If you want read some other ineffective ways to start conversations (do these EVER work?), check out Dan Hersam’s blog. Also, in an old Dave Barry article, the humorist had the following to say about the sacred art of the pick-up line:

“…the next time a guy walks up and uses some incredibly lame, boneheaded line on you, I hope that, instead of laughing at him, you will remember that he is under the intense pressure of wanting to impress you enough so that you might want to get to know him better and maybe eventually, perhaps within the next 15 minutes, mate with him, thereby enabling the survival of the human race, which believe me is the only thing that we males are truly concerned about.”


What’s the best/worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

First Impressions Gone Horribly Wrong…AND Incredibly Right

Here are two conversations…with two different people…who made two VERY different first impressions:

The first was Amber. She was the newest sales associate at my office. One day some coworkers and I were having lunch when Amber walked by and said hello to the group. After she and I were introduced, Dennis joked, “You look tired – long night last night?”

She laughed and said, “Well, I’m kinda dating two guys at the same time, but they live in two different cities. So they don’t know each other. And it’s difficult to keep them straight. I don’t even really like them that much, but one of them wants to fly me out to Washington to see him next weekend, so…you know.”

Now, I’m no one to judge anyone’s dating habits. But every time I see Amber for the rest of my life, I’ll always know her as, “The Girl Who Dates Two Guys in Two Cities.” Perhaps that’s not one’s best calling card.

The second conversation was with Christina. She works in my local Office Depot. I see her whenever I go in the store, usually about once a week. While walking down the aisles looking for some file folders, she walked by. Then I heard the screech of her tennis shoes as she backed up and started towards me.

“Scott! Hey how’s business going buddy?”

“Oh, it’s beautiful Christina! I’m buying more file folders because I’ve got more invoices to file – and that can only be a good sign, right?”

“You bet. Great to hear it!”

Then Christina closed with her standard tagline:

“…and if you need a geek, I’m your girl!”

And that’s why I ALWAYS shop there.

Two conversations…two people…two first impressions. Both UNFORGETTABLE, but only one could be considered effective. To quote James Barrie, “First impressions are a person’s work of years; they are stamped on his face by the events of his whole life by the hand of nature, and are not to be gotten rid of easily.”


What’s your best/worst example of an UNFORGETTABLE first impression?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

How to Use Pizza Boxes to Encourage Engaging Communication

During last weekend’s Superbowl party we ordered a few pies from Pizza Hut. When the delivery guy handed them to me, I noticed some unusual writing on the box: “10 Fun Questions for Kids to Ask Their Parents.” And underneath was another section with a headline reading “5 Fun Questions for Parents to Ask Their Kids.”


Open ended questions that start with “What’s your favorite…?” are perfect front porch behaviors that encourage people to open up and share preferences and opinions. Especially kids and parents; two groups of people who, as we can all speak from experience, have the most difficult time connecting with each other.


What’s your favorite open ended question to ask people you’ve just met?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Driving a Truck Changed My “Auto Approachability”

This week I took my car into the shop for a few repairs. When asked what kind of rental I wanted, I noticed a black Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab and said, “I’LL TAKE THE TRUCK!”

I’ve never driven a truckfor an extended period of time before. But I found it to be an interesting experience. My “Auto Approachability” changed when other drivers began to treat me differently. People let me go ahead of them in traffic. Cars slowed down as I approached. Some people even gave me dirty looks!

Picture you’re driving next one of these types of transportation:

  • Bikers
  • Truckers
  • Cyclists
  • SUV’s
  • Gas guzzlers
  • Bass-bumpin-tinted-windowed-blacklight-bottomed-22-inch-rim-having-pimp-mobiles


How do vehicles change the way drivers approach (or don’t approach) each other?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

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