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What Not to Say


Multitasking. It’s when a high-level executive turns on her Bluetooth to go over a PowerPoint of the quarterly budget plan as she sends a text that she’ll pick up the kids from soccer practice and checks the headlines in her Google Reader. It turns out those vaunted skills don’t make such executives—or anyone else—as efficient as we’ve all been led to believe.

Researchers at Stanford University find that the most obsessive multitaskers turn out to be the people who are least adept at performing each task (aside from the fact that they drive the rest of us nuts). Moreover, obsessive multitaskers are more easily distracted and unable to discern irrelevant information from valuable information than others, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer in Michigan.


I’m mentioning all of this to illustrate how buzzwords like “multitasking” infiltrate our language and then eventually just become the way things get done. And, as the Denver Business Journal notes, workplaces are rife with annoying overused jargon—words like “viral” and “leverage.”

The California-based Accountemps staffing services firm released a survey yesterday, identifying some of the worst examples, such as “interface,” as in, “My job requires me to interface with all levels of the organization.” So as likely as it is that you’ll continue multitasking, try to avoid these words. And if you can’t do that, at least be original and generate some new executive buzzwords at

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