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October 6, 2011 / matthas

Top 4 Most Annoying Business Phrases

What I love about my weekly staff meetings is that they tend to bring out the best in abused business phrases & corporate jargon. In anticipation of more corporate jargon gold from tomorrow’s meeting, I give you the Top 4 Most Annoying Business Phrases.

You may find these to be fairly common, and I’ll admit to dropping the jargon myself on occasion, but my criteria for these is simple – when I first heard them, my reaction was either a) confusion b) laughter c) nausea or d) all of the above.

In no particular order…

1. Reach out | As in “Could you go ahead and reach out to Dan on that?” I can only assume this phrase gained traction from the old Bell phone commercials. Which is exactly where this phrase should be buried, somewhere in the 70’s or on YouTube. There’s just no reason to say this when you can say “call” or “talk to”. But it sure does work well in those commercials:

Yeah, because you always bond with the random family you meet in the woods.

2. Flesh out | As in “We need to flesh out these ideas a bit more.” Occasional alternative: “vet“. OK, so I’ll forgive the usage on this one a bit due the fact that, when used, it must save at least .32 seconds over the basic english equivalent:  “work through the details of.” Regardless, it just sounds pretentious, doesn’t it? And besides, I always hear it said in Eric Idle‘s voice.

3. Deep dive | As in “I really need to do a deep dive on those metrics later today.”  Wha?!? Are we searching for the jaguar-shark and I forgot to bring my wetsuit? Ah, no, turns out what you mean is you need to “do some work”. Shame, really, I could have gone for some ultra clear Steve Zissou communication.

4. Make the ask | As in “Who can make the ask on that for us?” Even saying “make the request” or just “request” would be better than this awkward-sounding phrase. I honestly don’t get this one. At all. In your head it may sound fancy and sophisticated, but it has the inverse effect on the the ears of others  – you sound a bit … ridiculous (and because we’re now on a Bill Murray kick, roll the video):

Since this post has been revealed to be nothing more than a plug for classic SNL actors, I’ll close by saying that there are obviously countless other business phrases I didn’t list. And they too are being abused on a daily basis. Don’t let them suffer in silence. Stop the madness. Let’s solution this while there’s still hope.


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