When you hear a business contact using yet another cliché, what's the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard. Sure, there are times when using a cliché makes sense. When a person uses one after another, or the context is clearly not right, it's super annoying. If you're the one doing it, know that abusing clichés can seriously undermine your credibility. Here is a list of overused business expressions and the reasons they should be put to rest once and for all.
1. To be honest
Wait, you weren't being honest until now?
2. It is what it is
Yes, that's true. It definitely "is what it is." But the question is, what is it?
3. Don't drink the Kool-Aid
Why not? It's been one of my favorite beverages for years.
4. With all due respect
Anytime a person starts a sentence with this, the person is about to disrespect you.
5. Let's see if we have the bandwidth
This typically means the person doesn't have the bandwidth. 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. Break down silos
Are we talking about business or farming?
8. Paradigm shift
Big words don't impress me. Just say "change."
9. To be fair
I hope you are being fair. It's only fair.
10. Let's get disruptive
You're edgy and trendy; we get it.
11. Going forward
Do you ever go backward in business? I sure hope not.
12. Touch base
Touch base, reach out, get in touch. The list goes on and on. Just use the word contact.
13. Push the envelope
The last time I pushed the envelope, it ended up in the mailbox.
14. In the pipeline
I can't put it in the pipeline, because I don't even know what the pipeline is.
15. Leverage our assets
Do you mean "our" assets or "my" assets?
16. Let's take this offline
We can take it offline, but the conversation is going to be pretty much the same.
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
If someone tells you to think outside the box, chances are that person has never done it.
20. Get granular
You mean specific? Why don't you just say "specific"?
21. This really has legs
It may have legs, but who knows how fast those legs can run?
22. Raise the bar
Raise the bar, reach for the top, eye on the prize. They are all the same, and none of them mean much.
23. Run it up the flagpole
What are you going to do once it gets to the top?
24. Ducks in a row
Do we really need to bring these cute animals into our business conversation?
A Stephen Covey term that has been abused, time and time again.
26. Loop back/circle back
So, we're going to talk about this later, then...
27. 360-degree thinking
This one has never really made sense to me.
28. My door is open
Your door is open, except when it's actually closed.
29. Eat your own dog food
I don't want to eat anybody's dog food. Period.
30. Best of breed
Are you meeting with the Westminster Kennel Club? No? Didn't think so.
31. Let's take a deep dive
This was the "cool" thing to say five years ago. Now it's played out to the max.
32. Pick your brain
Translation: I want to know what you know and am too lazy to look it up myself.
Which clichés really make you grind your teeth? Sound off in the comments!