10 Feb 2020
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9 Annoying Office Buzzwords and Phrases You Should Stop Using Now



One of the best parts about growing a small business is that you don’t have to do the same thing as all the Big Guys.

That also means you don’t have to sound like them. In fact, one of the best parts about leaving corporate and striking out on your own is that you can let go of the corpspeak idioms and clichés that muddy communication and make your eyes roll.

It’s time to cut out the jargon and say what you mean. Not only do others find it refreshing to work with someone who is clear and concise, it could actually make you seem much smarter in the long run!


It’s time to banish these 9 annoying office buzzwords and phrases from your communication…


1. Run it up the flagpole

1958 called: it wants its jargon back. Seriously, the phrase “let’s run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes” was so popular in the ’50s and ’60s that even comedian Stan Freberg mocked it by having George Washington say it to Betsy Ross after she delivered the first American flag. Time to move on.


2. Think outside the box

So you want something different. But what do you actually mean? Creative thinking? Divergent strategy? Inventiveness Unconventional applications? These are far more helpful in defining expectations and getting superior results than a broad, overused cliché.


3. Synergy

Was that an eye-roll we just saw? This one is so overused that at this point it’s lost its meaning. Avoid this filler at all costs.


4. Low-hanging fruit

Sure, it sounds poetic, but is it really too hard to say “let’s do the easy stuff first”? Clear is always better than clever when you’re giving suggestions.


5. Growth hacking

Does this sound exciting or intimidating? We’re not sure, but we are sure that this is the most passive-aggressive way to say “cut corners to get us bigger results faster than you’re currently doing it.”


6. Right-size

Not quite “downsizing” but still definitely layoffs – now with a strategic positioning! There is no way to sugar-coat the loss of jobs. At this point, we really wish companies would find a more sensitive way to own what everyone knows is a painful process.


7. Don’t let the grass grow too long

Wait, we’ll get out the lawnmowers! Just kidding, all this means is that it’s not quite top priority, but it will be soon. We won’t tell you when that will be, exactly, but you shouldn’t forget to keep an eye on it, because we’ll give you a day’s notice before we need it pronto. Surprise!


8. Out of pocket

When were you ever in pocket? This phrase used to refer only to expenses, which made sense, but now it’s turning up as a way to indicate when someone is out of the office or unreachable. A fantastic example of corpspeak making things much more convoluted than necessary. Just say “unavailable,” if that’s what you mean!


9. Reach out

Loved and loathed the world over, it just makes it sound like getting in touch with someone is a bigger effort than it really is. There’s really no reaching involved. Just say you’ll call or email them!

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