One of the most popular stories on Business Insider right now is this one from LinkedIn contributor Jeff Haden:
Naturally, I read the story.
And I learned that I use almost all of the 25 annoying phrases I’m supposed to stop saying at work.
I must also confess, though, that I don’t find these phrases that annoying. I even like a lot of them.
“Thrown under the bus,” for example.
I am quite fond of “thrown under the bus.”
We even use “thrown under the bus” in headlines sometimes. And thank goodness for that. I enjoy it every time I see it.
“Google throws recalcitrant Android executive under the bus.” JP Morgan throws London Whale under the bus.”
What’s not to love?
Anyway, here are the 25 annoying phrases, with my thoughts and annotations attached. Please tell me which are truly annoying, so I can stop using them.
- At the end of the day. I like this one. Useful. Cuts to the chase.
- Back to the drawing board. Stale. Rarely use.
- Hit the ground running. Almost always a good idea. Frequently use that or a variant.
- Get the ball rolling. Also useful. Sometimes use.
- Low hanging fruit. One of my favourites! We are always over-complicating things. To serve readers well, you can’t just aim for the dazzling “sizzle” stories. You also need the steak. And the bread and butter. And the potatoes. In other words, you need to pick the low-hanging fruit!
- Thrown under the bus. Oh, how I love this one. Also, “take to the woodshed.” And a new variant, “throw shade.” These are all so much more conversational and evocative than “blames” or “assigns responsibility to” or any other ghastly business-ese.
- Think outside the box. Very stale. But still useful.
- Let’s touch base. I probably use this one a dozen times a day. All-encompassing. Don’t need to specify medium. Handy.
- Get my manager’s blessing. Never use. Never will. Awful.
- It’s on my radar. Yep — I use it.
- Ping me. Love it! That’s what you do these days — “ping” people. Via text, email, IM, Slack, etc. What are you going to say instead? “Call me?” I don’t want you to call me. I want you to ping me!
- I don’t have the bandwidth. Very useful. Use it all the time.
- No brainer. Have used it.
- Par for the course. Use it all the time. Also, “goes with the territory.”
- Bang for your buck. Useful, but I don’t use it.
- Synergy. Godawful. Don’t use. It’s a euphemism for “fire people.”
- Move the goal posts. I don’t use, but this is one of my colleague’s favourites. People are always “moving the goal posts” on her. (Me, probably).
- Apples to apples. I use it! Useful. People are always comparing apples and oranges.
- Win-win. Boy, do I love this one. Sometimes, when three parties are involved, I even say, “win-win-win!” This is the key to being to successful, after all. You have to make actions and deals and customer-service efforts “win-wins.” Or no one will ever do them.
- Circle back around. Yep. Use it.
- All hands on deck. For some reason, this one has never caught on with me. And I even like boats.
- Take this offline. Very useful. Saves lots of time in meetings. A polite way of telling folks to shut up because they’re going off on a tangent and boring the hell out of everyone.
- Drill-down. Use it all the time.
- Elephant in the room. Use it ALL the time. There are often elephants in the room. And it’s best to identify them immediately.
- On my plate. Wow, is this one useful. So many of us have too much on our plates. There’s no simpler way to say it.
So there you have it. The 25 apparently annoying phrases I’m am apparently supposed to stop saying at work.
Which are actually annoying?
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