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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.)

Puffspeak Simpler choice 
Activate Start
Advantageous Helpful, useful
Aggregate Total, sum
Alleviate Ease, reduce
Ascertain Find out, learn
Assistance Help
Buy-in Support, agreement
Capability Ability
Circumvent Avoid
Conceptualise Think
Cost-effective Profitable, money-saving
Deliverables Results
Discontinue Stop
Disseminate Spread
Empower Assign responsibility, delegate
Endeavour Try
Feedback Response
Finalise Finish
Holistic Complete, comprehensive
Impacted Affected, changed
Inception Start, beginning
Infrastructure Facilities
Innovative Creative, inventive
Learnings Lessons
Leverage Gain, win
Mission critical Critical
Modality Style
Notwithstanding Although, even though
Numerous Many
Operational Working
Optimal Ideal
Optimise Improve
Optimum Best
Overriding Major
Parameters Limits, guidelines
Ramifications Effects, consequences
Regarding About
Requirement Need
Scalable Grow, expand
State-of-the-art Latest
Strategic Smart
Suffice Enough
Synergy Collaboration, cooperation, consolidation
Systemise Organise
Terminated Ended, finished
Time-frame Schedule
Upwardly mobile Successful
Utilise Use
Visualise See, predict