If I had a dollar for every smug muppet who dropped a cringe-worthy cliché on me over the years, I’d be a millionaire.
And completely unoriginal.
Here’s a list of overused office clichés’ that have no business being used in business.
They belong in the bin.
1. To be honest
Wait, you weren’t being honest until now?
2. With all due respect
Anytime a person starts a sentence with this, they’re about to disrespect you.
3. Pick your brain
Translation: I want to know what you know, and am too lazy to look it up myself.
4. Let’s get disruptive
You’re trying to be edgy and trendy; we get it.
5. Let’s see if we have the bandwidth
This typically means the person doesn’t have the time, money, or skills to do what you’re asking, but doesn’t want to admit it. It’s a stall tactic.
6. The fact of the matter is
This basically says, “What you’ve presented until now was not fact and I’m about to correct you.”
7. Let’s ideate together
Anybody can think. But it takes a true idiot to ideate.
8. Touch base
For everyone who’s not American, this is a baseball term. Good luck figuring out who or what ‘base’ is supposed to be?
9. Push the envelope
The last time I pushed the envelope, it ended up in the mailbox.
10. In the pipeline
The point of the pipeline is that when something goes into it, it’ll come out somewhere else entirely.
11. Loop back/circle back
So, we’re going to talk about this later, then…
12. Paradigm shift
Big words don’t impress me. Just say “change.”
13. Let’s take this offline
We can take it offline, but the conversation is going to be pretty much the same.
14. To be fair
It’s not fair if you’re not fair.
15. Let’s take a deep dive
This was the “cool” thing to say five years ago. Now it’s been drowned out (pardon the pun).
16. It is what it is
Yes, that’s true. It definitely “is what it is.” But the question is, what is it?
17. Low-hanging fruit
Someone who is talking about low-hanging fruit may not have much experience “reaching for the stars” (pun intended).
18. Move the needle
Everybody wants to “move the needle,” but without actionable advice this is a waste.
19. Think outside the box
Chances are high that the person who’s telling you think outside the box, is somehow firmly entrenched in a box of their own.
20. Get granular
You mean specific? Why don’t you just say “specific”?
21. This really has legs
It may have legs, but can it run?
22. Raise the bar
Raising our standard is great. But how’re we gonna keep it there?
23. Run it up the flagpole
We take it to our boss, who takes it to their boss, who in turn takes it to their boss. Once it reaches Ultimate Boss, what happens then?
24. Ducks in a row
If you’re vegetarian, substitute for eggs. Or don’t use at all.
25. My door is open
Your door is open, except when its closed.
A bit of Blue Sky Thinking
Let’s avoid smug phrases and stick to common sense uses of language. Otherwise we’ll all end up being nothing more than a bunch of smug muppets.
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