Business phrases have their place; that place is in the archives. Yet, many people speak as if they’ve swallowed the Business Jargon Dictionary. With so many conversations happening on social media, we need to know that not everyone is speaking in their mother-tongue. So, can we use plain English, please?
Irritating business phrases in my Twitter
I received an offensive automated DM (no, there weren’t any swear words, it was worse than that).
To be clear, I objected to the word “synergy”. Couldn’t he have written, “how we can work together”?
Living in a Spanish speaking country and communicating in English highlights how this can be a problem. When I speak to my clients I cannot say things like:
The client would ask me, “What’s a wheelhouse?” And my client meeting would turn into an English class.
What I would say is:
I implore you to reconsider how you write and speak. Always opt for plain English, so even non-native English speakers understand the point you’re making.
Eric Jackson took a satirical view of the business phrases we should all avoid in his article: 89 Business Cliches That Will Get Any MBA Promoted And Make Them Totally Useless. Your ears will bleed, and you’ll find quite a few you use.
The following infographic highlights the 10 phrases I never want to hear or be heard saying, and I invite you to publicly shame me if you ever see these words written by me.
Annoying business jargon in my email
On the same day, I was asked about any “synergy,” I received an email and was told:
“Start drinking the coolade [sic]”
This word was misspelt. The writer meant to say drink the kool-aid. But did he want me to do that?
The writer was explaining how he was using two ways to spend money to get more traffic to his website. I believe his “coolade” reference was to encourage me to do the same. However, here’s what “drinking the kool-aid” means:
Perhaps he could have said:
“Try these ways of getting more traffic.”
Do you see how confusing it can be? We all try to get clever with our words but when we get too clever, we end up being unclear, and our message isn’t understood.
10 Phrases to say this instead
We think outside the box here – We can come up with fresh ideas.
That’s right in our wheelhouse – We have a lot of experience in this area.
Don’t leave money on the table – Explore all options for making or saving money.
Let’s circle back to that – We can discuss this in more detail later.
I want you to run with this – I want you to manage this task/project.
It’s a paradigm shift – Things have changed.
We need to manage the optics of this – We need to make this look better.
It is what it is – There’s nothing we can do.
Don’t drink the Kool-Aid – Don’t be gullible.
Impactful – Significant or relevant.