Gen Z Rosetta Stone

Meg Weinkauf
September 7, 2023


Effective communication is vital to success in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. I’ve always been fascinated by the dynamic nature of leadership strategies. 

Recently, I collaborated with a remarkable senior Gen Z college student, Reyna Galvez, from Oral Roberts University, on exploring the importance of business executives learning some of the Gen Z lingo to foster better workplace communication and understanding. 

Reyna and I will share our findings and insights into why embracing Gen Z terminology can be a game-changer in the corporate world in this blog post. 

Before we dive into research, allow me to introduce Reyna, a senior digital marketing major at ORU who has been instrumental in shaping this exploration. 

Reyna belongs to Gen Z; her unique perspective and experiences have been invaluable in this conversation. 

Gen Z & Alpha

Before we delve into our research, it’s crucial to understand the significance of the Gen Z in the workplace. Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is the cohort currently entering the workforce, bringing fresh perspectives, values, and digital fluency. They represent the future of our workforce. 

Statistics tell us that Gen Z comprises approximately 20.8% of the U.S. population, outnumbering even the formidable Baby Boomers at 20.5%. Gen Z will make up 30% of the workforce by 2030. Their sheer numbers alone make them an influential demographic force. Moreover, this generation is characterized by a strong desire for social responsibility, diversity, and inclusion, which profoundly impacts corporate culture.

Gen Z Context

To better understand the context in which Gen Z lingo plays a pivotal role, let’s take a closer look at what this generation values:

1. Diversity and Inclusion: Gen Z values diversity in the workplace, both in terms of demographics and perspectives. They appreciate companies that actively promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

2. Digital Fluency: Having grown up with technology at their fingertips, Gen Z values digitally savvy companies that leverage technology for productivity and innovation.

3. Authenticity: Gen Z places a high premium on authenticity. They appreciate businesses that are genuine in their communication and actions.


Now, let’s explore why learning and integrating Gen Z lingo into the workplace is crucial: 

Reyna Galvez: “From my perspective as a Gen Z college student, understanding our lingo is about more than just words; it’s about understanding our culture and values. When executives make an effort to learn our language, it shows that they care about connecting with us on a personal level.” 

Decoding Gen Z Lingo 

Gen Z’s communication is concise yet expressive, often peppered with abbreviations and emojis. Phrases like “lit” and “on fleek” mirror their vibrancy. They value authenticity, diversity, and ethical practices, along with tech-savviness. 

A Unified Tomorrow

Our collaboration has uncovered a truth: embracing Gen Z vocabulary is a powerful strategy. By doing so, leaders pave the way for cross-generational collaboration. As Gen Z and Alpha come forth, understanding their language is not just about words; it’s a conduit to shared understanding and progress. 

  1. Enhanced Communication: Understanding and using Gen Z lingo fosters more effective communication between executives and younger employees. This bridge in communication can lead to better collaboration, teamwork, and problem-solving.
  1. Cultural Relevance: By speaking the same language (literally and figuratively), executives can show that they are in tune with the culture and values that matter most to Gen Z. This fosters a sense of belonging and alignment with the company’s mission.
  1. Promoting Inclusivity: Embracing Gen Z lingo can break down generational barriers and create a more inclusive workplace where all generations feel valued and respected.

Rosetta Stone for Gen Z Lingo

It’s important for older generation executives to understand Gen Z lingo to effectively communicate and connect with the younger generation during the hiring process and beyond. Here are some examples of Gen Z lingo that could be useful for executives to learn: 

  • FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. This refers to the feeling of anxiety that one might miss out on something interesting or exciting.
  • “I made sure to attend the conference; didn’t want to have FOMO if any important networking opportunities came up.”
  • Lit: Used to describe something exciting, amazing, or cool.
  • “The team’s presentation was so lit that the clients were thoroughly impressed.”
  • Savage: Playfully used to describe someone who is being humorous in a bold or brutally honest manner.
  • “Did you hear how Sarah called out that outdated process during the meeting? She’s a savage!”
  • Flex: Showing off or bragging about something, often related to achievements, possessions, or experiences.
  • “John totally flexed his coding skills when he solved that software issue within minutes.”
  • Cancel: To reject, ignore, or stop supporting someone or something due to a disagreement or controversy.
  • “It seems like some users want to cancel our latest feature update due to user experience issues.”
  • Clout: Influence, often gained through social media or popularity.
  • “We need influencers on board to give our brand more clout on social media.”
  • Vibe/Vibing: Refers to the overall feeling or atmosphere of a situation, place, or group of people.
  • “The office setup has a really chill vibe; everyone’s just vibing and collaborating.”
  • Bougie: Short for “bourgeoisie,” used to describe someone who acts posh, high-class, or pretentious.
  • “The client requested an upscale event to showcase their product in a bougie setting.”
  • GOAT: Acronym for “Greatest of All Time,” used to refer to someone highly skilled or accomplished.
  • “Alex’s leadership skills are on point; he’s the GOAT when it comes to team motivation.”
  • Slay: To do exceptionally well or excel in something.
  • “The design team slayed the new website layout; it looks fantastic!”
  • No Cap: Means “No lie” or “For real,” used to emphasize the truth of a statement.
  • “No cap, this project has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience.”
  • Mood: Used to express agreement or connection with something someone has said or posted.
  • “The struggle of dealing with last-minute changes in the project’s scope? Mood.”
  • TBH: Acronym for “To Be Honest,” often used to preface an honest opinion.
  • “TBH, I think the new marketing strategy needs more focus on user engagement.”
  • Glow Up: Refers to a positive transformation, usually in terms of physical appearance.
  • “The company’s website has undergone a major glow up with the new user interface.”
  • Stan: Refers to a positive transformation, usually in terms of physical appearance.
  • “I’m a total stan of our CEO’s vision for the future of the company.”
  • Extra: Over the top or excessively dramatic behavior.
  • “Did you see Karen’s presentation? The animations were a bit extra, but they impressed the clients.”
  • Lowkey: To do something discreetly or keep something on the down low.
  • “I lowkey think we should test the new software update internally before rolling it out.”
  • Squad: A close group of friends or associates.
  • “Our marketing squad is brainstorming ideas for the upcoming campaign.”
  • Woke: Being socially and politically aware, often used in discussions about social justice and equality.
  • “The younger team members are really woke about social issues, and they’re pushing for more diversity in our campaigns.”


Reyna Galvez: “As a Gen Z student, it’s been inspiring to work on this project with Dr. Megan Weinkauf. It’s a reminder that when different generations collaborate, we can find innovative solutions to the challenges we face.” 

As business executives, it’s essential to adapt to the changing landscape of our workforce. Gen Z brings unique perspectives, values, and skills to the table, making them an invaluable asset to any organization.

By embracing their lingo and fostering better communication, we can create a more inclusive, innovative, and productive workplace that meets the needs of all generations. In doing so, we can position our companies for continued success in the dynamic business world.

So, let’s start learning some Gen Z lingo and take the first step towards a more collaborative and forward-thinking workplace.

After all, as the saying goes, “The only constant in life is change,” and the future of our workforce is changing right before our eyes.”  

About Reyna:

As a senior pursuing my degree in Digital Marketing at Oral Roberts University, I may still need years of professional experience. Still, I make up for what I lack in tenure with creativity and a fresh perspective. 

 My journey in digital marketing started with a fascination for the ever-evolving digital landscape. Being part of the Gen Z generation, I bring a unique viewpoint that aligns with today’s digital culture. Our generation’s understanding of technology, social media, and consumer behavior is a powerful asset in this field. 

You’ll often find me crafting content or graphic design in my spare time. The best ideas come from daring to create. 

I’m excited to share my journey and insights as a fellow digital marketing enthusiast. Let’s connect and embark on this exciting journey of exploration and learning together!  

Connect with Reyna:

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