Banish These 10 Business Phrases Forever!!
By Wayne Mates
As a follow up to my first post on hackneyed expressions to banish, here are 10 more that should be expelled from the English language. Many are equally obnoxious in both business and personal conversation. Unfortunately, some people in an effort to either fit in or look smart, seem pretty ignorant when they use these phrases. So, here are some that are just awful.
- Transparency – How often have you heard this one, both in business and particularly in politics? The idea behind the use of this word is to imply an openness and honesty in presenting communication, facts and figures. This way no one could imply a company or politician was hiding anything. However, when I hear the word, it implies to me that I can see through what they are saying and there is no substance to what is being presented. Tell me you are being transparent and I will challenge you that you are hiding something.
- Drop the Ball – A typical sports analogy to portray someone who has failed to meet an objective or complete an assignment. Was it an error? A simple miscalculation on trajectory? A bad hop? What happened after they dropped the ball? Did they pick up the ball and complete the play? Was there a backup? This sports analogy should go and not into the Hall of Fame.
- Take It to the Next Level – Really? Why? What does this really mean? We completed an assignment or project but it wasn’t good enough, so have to do it better? Should we take an elevator to the next level? Or, can we go up the escalator? Or, maybe the stairs. Bosses use this all the time to try to encourage staff to be more productive. It is pretty transparent to me!
- Plus up Your Answers- The concept behind this phrase is idiotic. Someone asks you a question and you don’t just answer the question, you add more commentary and “add value” to your answer. By doing so, you are supposed to be able to impress the person that asked that you are either smart or trying to give them more information. The problem is that all they want is an answer to their question and additional information will confuse them. They will come back with more questions wasting time for both of you. Just answer the question!!
- Win-Win – I have heard this far too often. It is a win-win situation; everyone gets something out of it. You usually hear this when some compromise is made over an issue or policy. When you hear it, you can be pretty sure that no one won. It was simply a compromise made to be able close out an issue. Most likely no one was really happy. Should we call the politics of compromise (or lack of) in Washington a win-win?
- Client Centered- This is one of the dumbest phrases heard today! NO company that is looking to make a profit is client centered. They create products to sell to the public or to other businesses. They promote their products or services to their customers or potential customers. But are they client centered? NO! They are profit motivated! Look at all the airlines and banks charging ridiculous fees to maintain or build their profits. Listen to the taped “Your call is very important to us” while they put you on hold forever. Client centered? Not hardly!
- The Elephant in the Room- This is better known as the issue no one wants to address for any number of reasons. When I hear someone say this, I want to know where the pink elephants are. I want to hear elephant jokes. No issue should be so LARGE it shouldn’t be discussed. And, the elephant in the room will soon be forgotten as a non-issue.
- Step Up to the Plate- Another sports analogy. This one implies that it is someone’s turn to bat and the result should not be an out, or worse, a strikeout. It also implies that the person has not been capable of getting their job done. Maybe next time I hear this one, I will consider putting the feed bag on!
- Industry Standard – This is terminology invented and used by companies and managers who aspire to be average. Yes, Wall Street uses industry standards to rank one company against another to determine what company performs best. But, what does Wall Street know? They can’t seem to get anything right. If you own a company, don’t worry about industry standards. They don’t matter if you want your company to be the best there is.
- It Is What It Is – DUH!! What else would it be? Maybe the elephant in the room?
OK, so yes, I am a bit snarky and sarcastic with this post. But, don’t you really think it is time to euthanize these expressions. Hackneyed phrases, Be Gone!
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- 2012’s List of 10 Bungled Business Phrases to Banish – Part II on Banish These 10 Business Phrases Forever!!
- 2012’s List of 10 Bungled Business Phrases to Banish – Part I on Banish These 10 Bungled Business Words and Phrases