Article: Bullspeak – Why Business People Speak Like Idiots


If you work in just about any organization, you’ve know about doublespeak, buzz words, and spin. Corporate America, the armed forces, and government live by them, and Mark Graham Brown exposes them for what they represent – unnecessary words that confuses communications.

If you use extra words when possible (example knowledge-base vs. knowledge), if you use as many acronyms as possible, or write or talk with business phrases, such as best in class, new paradigm, value proposition, and thought leadership, then you use bullspeak.

Brown argues that if you have great products, services, or ideas, you don’t need the buzzwords. When you use them, employees and customers may not understand what you are trying to communicate.

Instead of “full plate,” use “busy”

Instead of “bandwidth,” use “time”

Mark Graham Brown

In the article, Brown offers reasonable advice to mitigate bullspeak. For example, write all communications at the 8-10 grade reading level. When someone uses bullspeak and you don’t understand, ask the person to clarify. Although challenging, try not to use acronyms. If you do, clarify what the acronym is when first used.

To help you understand bullspeak, Brown lists several buzzwords and translates them for you. You can replace the bullspeak with the simpler phrases.


You can view the article on HPT Treasures as well as other resources from Mark Graham Brown.

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