The use of euphemisms in everyday business jargon is pretty convenient. We can underplay something blunt or embarrassing by substituting it for a less touchy, milder expression.

But some of these expressions or phrases have morphed into corporate-speak that sometimes sounds like it came from outer space:

"Hey Phil, the CEO says I have to get my ducks in a row and think outside the box. Apparently, I didn't hit the ground running, so it's back to the drawing board. I don't want to be thrown under the bus, so I better get the ball rolling."

Seriously, do we really talk like this? Yep. Rather subconsciously, in fact. We are not socially aware of saying such things out loud as often as we do; our brains have been conditioned to use clichés, so they tend to fly below the radar.

Oh, and many of them unceremoniously bug the heck out of people.

Twenty phrases you should stop saying.

Here are 20 rather annoying phrases to consider deleting forever from the crevices of your mind. Ask yourself how often you use them, then try to catch yourself before you blurt one out. Re-conditioning your brain to find a more specific replacement will help you to curtail the temptation (and your customers and co-workers will thank you).

  1. "Think outside the box"
  2. "Grab the low hanging fruit"
  3. "Run it up the flagpole"
  4. "This will only take a minute"
  5. "Hit the ground running"
  6. "Get your ducks in a row"
  7. "Back to the drawing board"
  8. "Throw under the bus"
  9. "Get the ball rolling"
  10. "That's above my pay grade"
  11. "It's our policy"
  12. "Pushing the envelope"
  13. "Let's circle back around"
  14. "Take it to the next level"
  15. "I don't have the bandwidth"
  16. "Burning the candle at both ends" 
  17. "It is what it is"
  18. "Lost track of time"
  19. "Plenty of fish in the sea"
  20. "Work smarter, not harder"

Which are you guilty of? I'll readily admit that even today, I used No. 15 to excuse myself from having to deal with another interview request by a PR agency. Next time, when I really "don't have the bandwidth" (whatever that means), I'll flat out just say what I mean: Sorry, but I don't have the desire or commitment level to pursue this story. Best of luck.