Phrases I am already sick of hearing, and it’s only the first...

Phrases I am already sick of hearing, and it’s only the first week of January


Perhaps it’s old age.

Perhaps it’s the heat of summer.

Perhaps it’s just that so many people are saying such annoying things.

It’s the first week of January and, already, I’m hearing some of the most annoying phrases in business meetings I’ve ever encountered. Really.

There were some phrases last year that could send me incandescent (like a supernova). Apparently, I turned a great shade of puce as well.

But, I’ve chilled for a few weeks. Assessed options for the forthcoming year, lobbed into some meetings and, smack. Straight up, tedious, meaningless phrases that make me want to bleed from my eyeballs.

The list of business phrases I’d be happy to never hear again

So, for no other reason other than I can, here are just some of the phrases I’d be happy to never hear in a business meeting or, startup pitch, ever again.

The bits in italics are what I’d really like to say when these phrases are uttered.

  • Core competency (Don’t you mean ‘things that you do well?’)
  • Impact, impactful (It doesn’t mean what you think it means. You probably mean ‘affect’ if you need a verb, or ‘effect’ if you need a noun.)
  • Give 110% (Clearly, math isn’t your strong point.)
  • Open the kimono (Ew. In so many ways.)
  • Reach out (Wasn’t this an awful song by Noiseworks? Why can’t I just call someone? Or is this what you do after someone ‘Opens their kimono’?)
  • Fiscal cliff (Please. Just stop already. Or step off?)
  • YOLO (It stands for ‘you only, live once’. Puh-lease!)
  • Trending (It’s a trend or, it isn’t. It isn’t ‘trending’.)
  • Lots of moving parts (The Anthill office pinball machine has lots of moving parts. Don’t you mean ‘it’s complex?’)
  • Leverage (Really? It’s a noun, not a verb.)
  • Boil the ocean (I think that saying ‘boil the ocean’ is a waste of time, and probably so was the meeting where this was uttered.)
  • Tiger team (Is this a group of Tiger mums? Or do you mean the long awaited Richmond come back?)
  • Burning platform (Don’t couch disaster with words that sounds like something from a Die Hard movie.)
  • Use best practice (No, I thought I’d try some techniques that are known to fail, just to be interesting.)
  • Full service (Will you do my dry cleaning? No? Then, colour me confused.)
  • Synergise (Where do I start with this one…)
  • Learnings (‘Learning’ is a verb, it’s something you do. It’s not a noun, or something that you learned.)
  • Tap the China market (If your business model is to ‘tap 1% of the Chinese market’, you better be able to prove how.)
  • Bleeding edge (Chances are you’re not on the bleeding edge of anything, unless it’s the fiscal cliff, and you’re going to jump off because, well, YOLO.)

And, I’m sure there will be more as the year rolls on.

Have I missed any significant ones? Do tell.

(Image source: MemeGenerator)

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  • Joanne Mckenzie

    “Big data” already has me thinking about shoving a fork into my eye …it’s just data that people suddenly feel they can deal with all of a sudden.

  • Jen Storey

    That’s a good one Joanne!

    Another I’ve just been reminded of is “fast follower”. There’s nothing like making the same mistake as someone else, very quickly after they did.

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  • annie whitlocke

    “Your call is important to us”
    It just doesn’t work for me, but my eyes always get a work as they roll in disbelief

  • Peter Singer

    I squirm in disbelief (trying hard to avoid that Eddie Murphy look to the camera in “Trading Places”) when people state “Well, how long is a piece of string ?” and they feel they have coined a real pearl of a saying.
    Negotiating for best outcomes

  • Mark Stevens

    The saying that annoys me most is “at the end of the day ……..” , well I do not know about most people, but at the end of the day I am fast asleep!

  • ben jones

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  • Todd Spear

    Great list, Jen.

    I’d add ‘actionable’ to it. Everyone is saying ‘actionable’ outcomes and stuff like that. Everything anyone has ever done has been ‘actionable.’

    Especially saying ‘actionable conversion’ is really bad. What they mean to say is ‘selling crap.’

  • Jen Storey

    Wow, that is awful Todd. Given actionable is usually used in legal terms (as a cause to take legal action), it doesn’t even make sense in other contexts.

    What they really means is ‘can you just do it’, rather than ‘make it an actionable item.’

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