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Introducing the ‘Puffspeak’ Translator

Do you try to impress your audience with fancy words because you think it makes you seem intelligent? Do you use the same pompous phrases your boss and clients use – simply because you believe they expect you to?

Sadly, many useless and inflated words have pummelled their way into our everyday business language. I call it ‘puffspeak’.

Puffspeak is annoying. Meaningless. And pretentious.

We publish websites, blog posts, brochures and news releases because we want our audience to read and grasp our message. And most of the time, we want them to act on it.

But that won’t happen if they can’t understand it.

Here are 50 examples of ‘puffspeak’ words and suggested replacements. (The 10 orange words are particularly overused. Watch out for these especially.)

PuffspeakSimpler choice 
ActivateStart
AdvantageousHelpful, useful
AggregateTotal, sum
AlleviateEase, reduce
AscertainFind out, learn
AssistanceHelp
Buy-inSupport, agreement
CapabilityAbility
CircumventAvoid
ConceptualiseThink
Cost-effectiveProfitable, money-saving
DeliverablesResults
DiscontinueStop
DisseminateSpread
EmpowerAssign responsibility, delegate
EndeavourTry
FeedbackResponse
FinaliseFinish
HolisticComplete, comprehensive
ImpactedAffected, changed
InceptionStart, beginning
InfrastructureFacilities
InnovativeCreative, inventive
LearningsLessons
LeverageGain, win
Mission criticalCritical
ModalityStyle
NotwithstandingAlthough, even though
NumerousMany
OperationalWorking
OptimalIdeal
OptimiseImprove
OptimumBest
OverridingMajor
ParametersLimits, guidelines
RamificationsEffects, consequences
RegardingAbout
RequirementNeed
ScalableGrow, expand
State-of-the-artLatest
StrategicSmart
SufficeEnough
SynergyCollaboration, cooperation, consolidation
SystemiseOrganise
TerminatedEnded, finished
Time-frameSchedule
Upwardly mobileSuccessful
UtiliseUse
VisualiseSee, predict