Cliches: they're the worst. That's why I've asked hundreds of entrepreneurs and other business leaders to let me know the ones that make them cringe the most.
Top of the list? "Thought leader." Nobody who actually is a thought leader has to proclaim to be one. But can you guess how many people on LinkedIn include that title in their profiles?
Here are some of the others that people said really grind their gears.
1. "110 percent"
"There's nothing wrong with encouraging your team to challenge themselves to go above and beyond, but 110 percent is a figure that is impossible to measure. Instead, encourage your team to 'give it your all' every day."
--Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com
"I basically hate any verb-that's-not-a-verb. 'Onboarding' is another gem, but ideation is simply not okay."
--Patrick Whatman, head of content, Mention
3. Sharing out
"As in: 'Everyone circle back and share out to the group next week. As a copywriter, I
object to the nonsensical addition of out. (What does sharing in look like?)
--Nelson Caldwell, Caldwell Copywriting
"I think it started out with good intentions ... but at this point, it just feels belittling. I strive to defy the stereotype that feminine traits in business are negative, but there is something about the whole 'girl boss' movement that rubs me the wrong way."
Julianna Dahbura, founder, Deco
5. Free Consultation
""It just means free sales meeting! It's a freaking sales meeting--of course it's free! ... Why are people and their websites still touting their sales meetings with such high regard?"
--Frank Kerner, content and digital strategist, Pelican State Credit Union
"A fancy way of not-admitting that you made a mistake and/or are disguising it."
Kari Cruz, owner and designer, Hoops and Skirts
"My newest peeve is 'agnostic.' We are 'vendor agnostic.' We are 'partner agnostic.' We are 'tool agnostic.' I guess it is supposed to mean open to all options in the category."
"If you describe yourself as a thought leader or influencer in your Linkedin profile, there's a 100 percent chance I'll think you're full of yourself and just love the sound of your own voice."
--Tim White, demand generation director, Datahug
"Creators, distributors and brands like to describe content as 'snackable, meaning people can consume it in bite sizes, when and where they want (on a laptop, tablet, mobile device, etc). I'd rather snack on kale chips, chia bars, gogi berries or any real food cliche."
--Gretchen Wagner, Believe Entertainment Group
10. "the Uber of..."
"This may be the most annoying of all! Uber is a unique company. It's unlikely that
your dry-cleaning service will be truly groundbreaking and reshape the map of an entire industry."
Shlomo Z. Bregman, founder, Bregman Sucesss
"Is it code for commission-only sales reps? Or does a 10-person company really believe that it's a partner of a Fortune 1000 tech giant?"
Joshua Feinberg, vice-president and co-founder, SP Home Run, Inc.
12. Growth hacking
"Use of this term drives me crazy when marketers who are doing SEO, SEM, or social
media marketing call it 'growth hacking.' It's just marketing."
Giancarlo Massaro, co-founder, ViralSweep