Perhaps you’ve read this word somewhere and are wondering about the meaning of ‘Buzzword’. It is a word or phrase, often jargon, that is used at a certain time, or in a certain context. This morning, I was thinking about this when I read a blog post in which the writer wrote the following:
‘Let me nutshell that for you’.
“Let me nutshell that for you” is doubly complicated because it is based on the phrase ‘To put it in a nutshell”. This means to explain something in a concise way. So small that it would fit into a nutshell. Kurzgesagt.
Another expression in English is Buzzword Bingo (or BS Bingo if you are being less polite). If we were playing a round of Buzzword BINGO, the phrase “Let me nutshell that for you” would win a prize.
This phrase assumes that readers are aware of the original phrase of “to put it in a nutshell”, and can tell through context clues what the writer meant.
Instead of that expression, I’d write ‘To put it more simply, …’ Easier for everyone to understand and doesn’t make your reader click away.
The fastest way to get readers to close the browser window on your blog post is to use empty phrases such as ‘blue-sky thinking’ and ‘helicopter thinking’ or ‘mission-critical’.
This is especially important when writing for an international audience.
If you are unsure about using a word in on your website or blog, imaging saying it to your friends when you are out for coffee. Would you feel really daft using that word? If the answer to this question was ‘yes’, then look for an alternative word or phrase.
Here are some ideas for the Buzzwords above:
Blue Sky Thinking = a creative brainstorming session.
Let me give you a ballpark = Here’s a rough estimate of costs.
It’s a real paradigm shift = a fundamental change of how business is done. This one isn’t actually bad when used properly, but like ‘disruptive’, it is often over-used. There aren’t all that many true paradigm shifts.
What are your pain points? Again, the actual meaning behind this one isn’t all that bad, but I’d argue that it’s best kept for internal marketing discussions. You need to know what the customers’ pain points are in order to show that your product or service addresses them. Your customers may not be used to these words and will think ‘Huh, what are they talking about?’ Another way of saying this is, ‘What improvements would you like to make?’. This also has the advantage of being positive rather than negative.