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Stick A Fork In Business Buzzwords: 15 Common Phrases To Kill

Business Buzzwords

The business world is ripe with raconteurs, rhetoricians and grandiloquent speakers – which is to say that many businesspeople use unwieldy elaborations of common English words and phrases in an effort to make a point – or simply out of habit without considering the meaning (or lack thereof) of a particular phrase.

Recently, in the LinkedCincinnati Group on LinkedIn, I posed the question:

“If you could kill one piece of corporate buzz-speak (like the phrase ‘move the needle’), what would you eliminate?” 

After over 100 comments in just one week, below are a few of my favorites from the discussion:

1. Think outside the box

First, can you define what the box is, so I can think outside of it? Yeah, I didn’t think so. 

2. There’s no “I” in Team

But there is an “m” and an “e”… There’s also an “I” in quit. 

3. Reach out

This sounds like it involves touching in the workplace. Your HR person will not be amused. 

4. At the end of the day

Lazy and meaningless at any time of the day. Unless, of course, it IS literally the end of the day. 

5. Let’s take that off-line

Translation: “I don’t want to address that and I hope you’ll forget to bring it up again.” 

6. We want to partner up with you

To take advantage of what a person or company has built/grown/acquired – for free. 

7. I’d like to pick your brain

See #6. 

8. Drink the kool-aid

Sounds way better than asking employees to die for you

9. This one’s in your wheelhouse

I don’t want to have anything to do with this project. You can have it. 

10. Take one for the Team

You’re on your own here. We’re officially throwing you under the bus.

11. Kick the can down the road

Because nothing says we’re serious business people like comparing work activities to a child’s game. 

12. Game changer

Yeah, right. Before that it was “world class” and before that it was “state of the art”. 

13. It is what it is

“I am your supreme Leader. And I don’t give a shit what you think.”   

14. Get in bed with

Just say NO to using this in regards to customers, vendors, etc. Trust me. They’re not that into you.  

15. Open the kimono

Some things are better left unseen. Keep that kimono zipped up and find another way to talk about transparency!

Question: What business buzzword or corporate jargon would you like to eliminate? Share it in the Comments section by clicking here!

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.


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