Clean up your business conversations. Don’t tell people that you’re pushing the envelope or grabbing the low-hanging fruit if you want to sound smart.
Business jargon and clichés can make you sound flippant and annoying at best, or confusing and uncreative at worst.
Overused buzzwords and phrases used to feel fresh but they long ago lost their creativity and impact. If you’re in a meeting and someone says to “think outside the box,” does it really make you stop thinking inside the box? No. No it does not.
If someone asks you to break down the silos, do you grab a sledgehammer and run to the nearest farm? Or ask someone what a silo is? A better option is to ask your co-workers to talk to other departments and share information.
SEE: Avoid these 50 business cliches like the plague (TechRepublic)
Or if you’re asked to grab the low-hanging fruit, do you look for the closest apple tree? What if you live in the city? How about just asking people to target the closest goals first?
And no matter how much you push the envelope, it will still just be stationery. How about asking people to try harder instead?
Whatever you do, do not ask your colleagues to drink the Kool-Aid. This is a mostly forgotten reference to the tragic 1978 Jonestown suicides. If you want people to support your ideas, ask for that.
In today’s world. What other world would you be referring to? Just say “now.” Because that’s what it is. Now. When you tell someone “it is what it is,” you can sound flippant. If you want to sound that way, then okay. But if you aren’t intending to come across as a jerk, then change your language and say something more along the lines of “sometimes we can’t change things and have to accept them the way they are.”
And then, the worst offender. The win-win situation. Is it really a win-win situation if someone declares it such? Or is everyone just forced to hear another tiresome cliché and feel like a bit of a loser as a result?
There are hundreds of phrases and words to avoid, but a list of the 50 worst can be found on TechRepublic. There are plenty of alternatives to use instead. And if you catch yourself in a meeting using one of them, don’t fret. We all do it. Being aware of the the fact that they’re overused and tiresome is the first step toward revamping your word choices and moving toward something a bit more interesting.
As one of our TechRepublic colleagues has suggested, the best rule of thumb is to avoid anything ever said by Michael Scott on The Office. Follow that rule and you’re golden.
Following is a partial list, and the entire list of all 50 phrases is available in ouror as a TechRepublic download.
Phrases to avoid:
IT budgeting: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
Cloud providers 2019: A buyer’s guide (TechRepublic download)
Policy pack: Workplace ethics (TechRepublic Premium)
Tech Budgets 2019: A CXO’s Guide (ZDNet)
6 ways to delete yourself from the internet (CNET)
Best to-do list apps for managing tasks on any platform (Download.com)
CXO: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)