MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — While today’s workplace is awash with buzzwords and cliches, certain terms and phrases are more common — and grating — than others, according to an Accountemps survey of human resources (HR) managers. “Dynamic,” “deep dive” and “leverage” were among the most overused and annoying business buzzwords cited by those polled.

Mouth covered with tape

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 600 HR managers at U.S. and Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

“Clarity is still king when communicating in the workplace,” said Bill Driscoll, New England district president of Accountemps. “Jargon tends to confuse, not clarify. It’s generally best to avoid the tired cliches and trendy buzzwords in favor of clear, straightforward language.”

Managers were asked, “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the
workplace today?
” Their responses included:

  • “Out of pocket”
  • “Deep dive”
  • “Forward-thinking”
  • “Dynamic”
  • “Let me get back to you.”
  • “Pick your brain”
  • “Employee engagement”
  • “LOL”

In what may be a sign of both employee burnout and improved job prospects, some of the phrases suggest workers now feel more comfortable venting about their workloads and salaries:

  • “It’s not my job.”
  • “It’s above my pay grade.”
  • “When am I going to get a raise?”
  • “I am overwhelmed.”
  • “Crunch time”

Some buzzwords simply refuse to go away. These well-worn words and sayings also were cited in similar Accountemps surveys conducted in 2004 and 2009:

  • “Win-win”
  • “Value-added”
  • “Think outside the box.”
  • “Leverage”
  • “At the end of the day”
  • “Circle back”
  • “Synergy”

SOURCE Accountemps

#HappyCanadaDay, view ILScorp’s office hours & ILStv’s summer schedule here

#HappyCanadaDay, view ILScorp’s office hours & ILStv’s summer schedule here

long weekend,

Happy Canada Day, We’ll be Back on Monday, July 4th!

The ILScorp offices will be closed Friday, July 1st. One as we take some time to enjoy Canada Day. We’ll be back Monday morning, ready to take your calls, answer your questions and register you for online insurance programs. You can reach us from 8 a.m. – 5  p.m. Pacific Time.

You can also register for our insurance training programs online, anytime, at

ILSTVNews Canada’s Source For Insurance Professionals is taking this coming summer off. To spend some time with loved ones, family and friends. For subscribers to the ILSTV Insurance Industry Newsletter, your daily dose of Canadian insurance news returns to your inbox on Tuesday, Sept 6th. 

Yay! Our weekly news will continue on through the summer so I know if you haven’t already you’ll want to sign up for our weekly Canadian Insurance News to stay up-to-date while you enjoy your summer. :). Follow this link to sign up for our weekly


Ten Words People Who Lack Confidence Always Use

Ten Words People Who Lack Confidence Always Use


Nine-hundred and seventy-two.

That’s the total number of e-mails I received just in May, and it’s about my average. That’s not counting the hundreds and hundreds of messages Gmail dumped into categories for promotional mail, forum posts, and social networking updates. I’ve become proficient at jumping through messages quickly (using the J and K keys), but there’s one thing I’ve mastered even more than that: spotting a lack of confidence.

I also take quite a few cold calls–people who are not really sure what I do and have not really done too much research but have me on a phone list for some reason.

In most cases, it’s a pitch about a product or someone asking a question about marketing to journalists. He or she might say he or she “usually” does something. In a few cases, it’s someone with a business idea he or she “suspects” will be perfect. Most of the time, these messages are straightforward–the sender isn’t messing around. But a few seem hesitant. I fire back a question, and the response makes me question the person’s authority on the subject.

These words are not always triggers about confidence level, but they are my first signal that something is amiss. They make me think the sender is not that sure about the product or service. And they are dead giveaways that I need to question what the person says.

1. Might

Be careful when you tell people you “might” do something. Are you sure about that? No one is asking you to solve world peace. When you say you “might” finish a report, it implies you lack some ability, don’t manage your time well, or have too many priorities.

2. Won’t

Here’s an obvious word to avoid in your emails. Anyone who says he or she “won’t” do something or “won’t” attend a meeting is generating a negative vibe. Be more decisive: Either accept an invitation or reject it; using the word won’t suggests hesitancy.

3. Usually

This is a trigger word in email that makes it obvious to everyone that you don’t have all the facts. If you say the accounting department “usually” doesn’t approve your expense report or the boss is “usually” late to work, it means you’re stretching the truth.

4. Suspect

Unless you are talking about a suspect in a trial, avoid saying you “suspect” anything. You’re not Sherlock Holmes. Just use direct terms: You know an investor is pulling out of the project, and here’s why; or you have facts to support your conclusion on a new marketing plan.

5. Impossible

I’ll bet Mark Zuckerberg has never used the word impossible in an email. The recipient will lose confidence in you quickly. State why something might be hard or difficult or just don’t agree to a course of action. Don’t bother telling people it’s impossible.

6. Worried

We all worry about the stresses of life. Telling people you are worried by email makes it seem as if you lack confidence in your abilities. If you are worried, don’t bother saying that to anyone–just express what you are concerned about and offer solutions.

7. Confused

Expressing your confusion will create even more confusion. It’s better to just say what you are confused about and ask questions. Saying you are “confused” gives people the impression that either you don’t understand something or that the topic is confusing to you.

8. Need

We all have needs in life. When you express those needs by email over and over again, it makes you look needy. I “need” you to come to work early, I “need” you to get that report done. Avoid saying “need” and express requirements more directly.

9. Quandary

Have you sent a message and said you were in a “quandary”? You should know that the word means you are in a total state of perplexity. I mean, you are really perplexed. That’s not often the case when it comes to a new business proposal or fundraising round.

10. Likely

Few of us are in the business of predicting the future. If you say something is “likely” in an email, you are expressing to the recipient that you are not really sure about the topic, and you don’t have all the facts yet. It’s likely that you just lack confidence.


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To succeed in business today, industry leaders say employees need to better communications skills in order to articulate their message to customers, co-workers and employers. To meet this growing need among professionals in all industries, ILScorp has launched a new online course: “Secrets for Exceptional Speaking.”

March Madness Fever: Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to hiring

Source: Lou Adler

Over the past 40 years, I’ve interviewed over 10,000 people for hundreds of different jobs, from entry-level to CEO. As part of this, I’ve debriefed over 1,000 managers and tracked the subsequent performance of the people they hired and didn’t hire. Based on this, I can safely conclude these are the top 10 classic hiring mistakes:

  1. Using Presentation Skills to Predict Performance. Too many interviewers overvalue the candidate’s appearance, affability, assertiveness and how articulate the person is. These “Four A’s” don’t predict performance, all they predict is the likelihood the wrong person will be hired.
  2. Instantaneous Judgmentitis aka “Cherry-picking” Syndrome. Once a yes/no hiring decision is made (often in a few minutes) the balance of the interview is used to seek out information to confirm the initial flawed decision. For those candidates in the “yes” group, the tough questions are avoided, and for those receiving a quick “no” the toughest ones are asked. The problem can be minimized by waiting at least 30 minutes before making any hint of a yes or no decision.
  3. Using Hard Skills to Predict Performance. It’s what people do with what they have that makes them successful, yet most interviewers focus more on the depth of the having rather than the quality of the doing. It’s better to first determine how these skills are used on the job, and then use the one-question interview to figure out if the person has done what needs to be done.
  4. Thinking Soft Skills are Too Soft to Matter. Collaborating with other people in other functions, meeting challenging deadlines, changing priorities, making business tradeoffs, obtaining resources, and the like, are too important to be called soft. Yet most interviewers spend too little time on how these non-technical skills drive performance.
  5. Missing the Forest for the Trees. If you’ve ever hired someone who’s partially competent, you’ve experienced this problem. Technical people focus too much on technical brilliance and not enough on how these skills are used on the job. Intuitive people rely on a narrow range of abilities, like assertiveness and intellectual horsepower, and assume global competency. The problem can be minimized by preparing a performance-based job description defining the top 4-5 things a person needs to do to be successful. Then put them in priority order and get everyone on the interviewing team to agree. Combine this with the one-question Performance-based Interview and you’re unlikely to make this mistake again.
  6. Gladiator Voting. Putting a bunch of interviewers in the same room and deciding to hire or not hire someone by adding up the yes/no votes is a recipe for hiring the wrong person. Sharing evidence around the factors that drive success is the key to an accurate assessment. Here’s a scorecard we recommend using to collect the objective evidence needed to make an accurate assessment. When there is a wide variance of opinion around each factor, you can safely assume your company’s interview process is based on something other than the candidate’s ability to do the work that needs to be done.
  7. The Safety of No. A no vote is easier to make since those that invoke it can never be proved wrong. A “no” also rewards the weakest and the most conservative interviewers, since neither has enough information to vote yes. Worse, one no vote can override 2-3 yes votes, especially if the person voting no has more authority. This is why the talent scorecard approach mentioned above is more effective.
  8. Misreading Motivation. Motivation to do the job is essential to job success. However, doing the job is not the same as motivation to get the job. Being prepared, being on time, doing company research, or responding “correctly” to the question, “why do you want this job?” are terrible predictors of real motivation. Unfortunately, too many interviewers are seduced by these superficial displays of interest. The one-question Performance-based Interview will reveal what really motivates candidates to excel.
  9. Ignoring Situational Fit. Even if you overcome all of these relatively easily preventable hiring mistakes and measure true ability, there is one issue that is often overlooked. If the candidate isn’t highly motivated to do the actual work that needs to get done, doesn’t mesh with the hiring manager’s style, or can’t thrive in the company culture (i.e., pace, decision-making process, approach to collaboration, level of sophistication, level of support and resources available) success is problematic.
  10. Asserting the Wrong Consequent. An example best illustrates this problem. Most interviewers falsely assume that the best sales reps make good first impressions. With this viewpoint, many compound the error by concluding that everyone who makes a good first impression will be a good sales rep. (This is an example of “asserting the consequent” logic problem.) What I’ve discovered is that the only common characteristic among the best sales people is a track record of great sales performance. When I find a great sales rep who makes less than a stellar first impression, I’ve discovered the person works harder than everyone else. You can apply this same principle to any job where there’s a belief that first impressions matter. What matters is a track record of past performance doing what you need to get done.

Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to hiring. This starts by defining what you need done. If you skip this step you’re likely to fall prey to one or more of the common hiring traps described here. As someone once told me, “If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll use some lame excuse to justify how you found it.”

Lou Adler (@LouA) is the CEO of The Adler Group, a consulting and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring. He’s also a regular columnist for Inc. Magazine and BusinessInsider.

Noise in the workplace annoys us – a lot.

Read more
20 inspirational new years quotes to kick start your 2016

20 inspirational new years quotes to kick start your 2016


New Years quotes for a fantastic 2016

2016 is upon us and our culture seeks for a fresh start around this time of year as we turn the page on the calendar to an entirely new year. We make resolutions, we set goals, and we tell ourselves that this year will be different, it will be better.

We often find that tapping the wisdom of famed thinkers and doers, we can find inspiration. Below are 20 quotes to light a fire under your rear for 2016 – let’s go get ‘em!

Doing your best and believing in your dreams

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” – Karen Ravn

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole Fran

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” – Pamela Vaull Starr

Inspiring words about courage and goals

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” – Diana Scharf Hunt

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

“Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people’s criticisms, carry out your plan.” – Paul J. Meyer

It’s never too late!

“Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it’s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest of most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.” – Anthony Robbins

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It takes grit, determination, and devotion

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” – George Sheehan

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

Hold on tightly to your aspirations

“Today’s patience can transform yesterday’s discouragements into tomorrow’s discoveries. Today’s purposes can turn yesterday’s defeats into tomorrow’s determination.” – William Arthur Ward

“Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

“To dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” – Bernard Edmonds

Happy New Year readers!


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