Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
We humans are weak.
We're horribly suggestible.
We see or hear someone else doing something and we do it ourselves without thinking.
That's how some of our worst linguistic habits come about.
We hear certain phrases, we use them ourselves, we don't get blowback, so we think they're de rigueur.
Perhaps, though, it just means the person you heard it from speaks thoughtlessly too.
So please allow me to offer some phrases that happen to grate on me.
In my heart, I hope they grate on you too. Even if you occasionally use them.
Guilt is a good way to make behavioral change.
1. "It goes without saying."
So why are you saying it? I know this response sounds glib, but I hope it's also true. This phrase literally means: there's no need to say this. Think of all the time you'd save, all the joys you could have if you never uttered these four words again.
2. "With all due respect."
Someone will try to explain to me that this has a use. I'm happy to listen. But what this really means is: I think you're an oafish dunderhead for whom I have no respect, but I don't want to look bad by saying it. You can express it, though, just in your tone. Or not at all. Every time I hear this, I fear it's just an expression of personal superiority.
3. "Simply put."
I worry about this one before. Here's how I read it: I'm smarter than you. I've tried to express myself in an intelligent way. But I think you're stupid, so I use this phrase to alert you that the stupid-person's version is coming right up. Is this entirely necessary?
4. "To be honest."
I understand the temptation of this. I really do. But doesn't it really mean: You and I both know we lie a lot. I mean, a lot. So here I am trying to get you to pay attention to something that I really, really want you to believe is true. And very likely, it isn't.
5. "Invited guests."
Perhaps it's me, but every time I hear this, I think it wants to mean: The people we've invited. But phrasing it this way, it suggests: Look, as with every event there will be one or two drunken gatecrashers. I just want to say right now that we didn't invite them. I bet you did invite them. They're not gatecrashers at all, are they?
6. "Unexpected surprise."
Please, I'm not innocent. I'm just as weak as you. I fear I've said this myself. I want to believe this has a subtle meaning. I want to believe it suggests that some surprises are setups and this one's genuine. To be honest and simply put, I think I'm fooling myself.
7. "Foreign imports."
Is this one obvious? Or should I lie down? I hear politicians talk about foreign imports all the time. But if they're imports, don't they come from another country?
8. "PIN number."
I'm tending from pedantic to petty, I know. But a PIN is a Personal Identification Number. So, well, you know. Oh, I know it doesn't really matter. Unless your ultimate boss is petty and pedantic. It goes without saying that so many of them are.