Some of the phrases we hear in the office every day are overused. New research, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with JiveCommunications, has pinpointed the top phrases used in the workplace that are outdated.
The findings were compiled after the examination of communication behaviors of 2,000 American workers. If you’ve constantly been told to “think outside the box,” or have ever been accused of “throwing (someone) under the bus,” your secret bathroom complaint sessions have now been validated by research.
Several of the phrases are quite old-school and might remind you of things a nagging grandmother or baby boomer from the typewriter-filled offices of yesteryear might say, so it’s quite interesting to see that these are still communication mainstays wreaking havoc on professionals’ nerves.
“Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched” made it to No. 6, “barking up the wrong tree” landed at No. 16, and “best thing since sliced bread,” got No. 27 on the list.
Other often-used, seemingly relevant and fitting phrases like “Give it 110 percent” (at the top spot) and “win-win situation” (at No. 10) might leave you wondering, “Well, what else am I supposed to say?”
Experts recommend expanding your vocabulary and tailoring your communications to be more personable in the workplace. The Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation offers suggestions for expansion of vocabulary including reading more books and using a dictionary and vocabulary workbook to get in the habit of using different words and phrases correctly.
According to blackenterprise.com, the following are examples of some of the most annoying business jargon:
• Give 110 percent
• Think outside the box
• Hammer it out
• Throw them under the bus
• Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched
• Pushing the envelope
• Let the cat out of the bag
• Let’s circle back
• Win-win situation
• Take it to the next level
• Barking up the wrong tree
• Going forward
• Let’s ballpark this
• Run this up the flagpole
• Back to square one
• There’s no “I” in team
Here are even more business clichés that you may want to avoid in order to come across as a truly original thinker and speaker:
• Back to the drawing board
• Paradigm shift
• Elephant in the room
• Raise the bar
• Best thing since sliced bread
• Skin in the game
• Reach out
• Touch base
• Play hardball
• Don’t reinvent the wheel
• Kept in the loop
• The bottom line
• Down the road
• I’ll loop you in
• Hit the nail on the head
• Team player
On the other hand …
Most of the overused words and phrases above have been crafted over the years by seasoned business people, not millennials. But there are some bad habits millennials are bringing to the work place, something they should stop doing if they want to be taken seriously.
According to inc.com, the following are some of the most-complained-about speaking habits millennials use.
Saying things like: “It seems like my time would be best spent…”
“This person sounds responsible, but they’ve potentially ditched the team’s goals and priorities for their own preferences. They want to do what they want to do — but what if they are missing the whole point of owning the big picture and what’s needed?” — Andy Hooper, vice president, Gap International
“I can’t even.”
“This sarcastic phrase indicating a breaking point or speechlessness is entirely overused and can undermine the speaker’s professionalism. ... What is acceptable in a casual meeting at the coffee shop may not be well received by co-workers from an older generation.” — Katie Kern, PR and marketing director, Media Frenzy Global
“As a millennial myself, I can tell you the biggest thing my generation needs to get rid of is using the word ‘like’ with such excessiveness. There is nothing that will (lead you to being) dismissed more quickly than a few too many ‘likes’ during a meeting or on a call.” — Peter Mertens, associate, Burson-Marsteller
“We literally need to stop overusing literally. It’s literally useless to toss it in every sentence. We literally don’t recognize that we’re abusing the literal meaning of the word. Fellow millennials, please join me in banning the word from our vocabulary — I’m literally begging you.” — Greg Rudolph, founder and CEO, BoardBlazers.com
“One of the most common habits I’ve noticed [among] millennials (including myself) is using the word ‘man’ in sentences, making them sound less professional: ‘All right man, that sounds good.’ ... In many cases it just comes across as unprofessional. Honestly, I have this habit and it’s something I’m trying to break.” — Brandon Howard, owner, All My Web Needs
“A lot of millennials like to use the word ‘dude’ when they’re in a professional setting. ... Most older professionals won’t take you seriously if you use the word dude as it’s too casual and makes you sound immature.” —Michelle Kop, marketing specialist, GMR Transcription
Talking too fast
“Young people often want to prove themselves, and they speak fast so they get heard. They need to slow down. ... For all ages the rule of thumb is: The more time you give yourself, the more status people give you.”