Performance = Speaking Plain English

Buzzwords, jargon, ‘hip’ phrases and ‘cool things to say’ have long been part and parcel of the world of work. However, we are suffering from an epidemic of pointless and annoying buzz words and phrases. Here are some of my ‘pet hates’ – if you ‘get my drift’!

My Top 10 Annoying Buzz Words and Phrases

#1: Let’s hit the ground running

Yes, this phrase conveys a sense of urgency and action, but why not just say, ‘let’s make a start'.

#2: I need you to give 110%

Firstly, this is mathematically impossible. Secondly, it piles on the pressure leading to thoughts of being over-worked, over-time and long hours. Why not just ask people to do their best?

#3: She/he brings a lot of value to the table

When is the last time you ‘brought value to the table’ rather than a plate of food? Of course, what is really meant is to provide something that will be a benefit or value to a person, a company or a customer. It is a contribution of some sort.

#4: Let’s take this offline.

This phrase is often used to mean ‘let’s talk about this later when we are on our own'. I cannot imagine saying to my wife during a heated discussion in front of my children, ‘let’s take this off-line.’

#5: Let’s go for the low-hanging fruit

I think what people mean when using this phrase is ‘let’s go for the easier choices first’ rather than the harder or more challenging options.

#6: Let’s think outside the box

This is a common cliché suggesting that our thinking might be confined by some artificial boundaries. What we actually mean is, are there any alternatives that we have not yet considered?

#7: Let’s park this

You are not driving a car, so what is there to ‘park’? Do you mean you will decide later or complete the task at another time?

#8: Let’s get the ball rolling

This simply means ‘let’s make a start’, so why not just say so?

#9 Let’s pull the trigger on that

This phrase conjures up a violent image of a gun about to be fired. I would rather say, ‘ let’s make a start.’

#10: Ping me an email

Grrrrrrr! Why ‘ping’? My email setting doesn’t go ‘ping’. Why isn’t it sufficient to say, ‘send me an email?
Any or all of the buzz phrases along with ‘Hold that thought’, ‘ Pushing the envelope’, ‘Let’s do some blue sky thinking’, ‘It’s on my radar’, ‘Let’s break down the silos, ‘Let’s run it up the flagpole’ do little or nothing to communicate clear, simple messages that people understand. ‘At the end of the day’, ‘all things being equal’ ‘without beating around the bush’, why not just simply say what you mean!

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About the Author

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.

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