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The Top 30 Most Annoying Work-speak Phrases

02/25/2013 03:28 pm ET | Updated Apr 27, 2013

Calling all corporate people, politicians, pundits, and public speaking pros: Please strike the following 30 phrases from your vocabulary. The world will be grateful, and your communication will improve by several orders of magnitude.

  1. "At the end of the day"
  2. "It is what it is"
  3. "It's all good"
  4. "Win / win"
  5. "Ecosystem" when you mean market, enterprise, environment or situation
  6. "Do more with less" / "Work smarter"
  7. "Double-click," when you mean examine or consider
  8. "Unintended consequences" when you mean "Failed to anticipate"
  9. "I'm not smart enough to understand" when you mean "You're being unclear" or "You're wrong"
  10. "Help me understand" when you mean "I disagree"
  11. "Innovate" / "Innovation" when you mean idea
  12. "Crucial conversation" when you mean candid feedback or argument
  13. "Get creative" when you mean "Fix it."
  14. "Lessons learned," or worse, "learnings" when you mean mistakes, failures, or problems
  15. "Think outside the box"
  16. "Bandwidth" when you mean "workload" or ability to be attentive
  17. "Moving forward / Going forward"
  18. "Drink the Kool-Aid" when you mean agree
  19. "Full plate" when you mean busy
  20. "Solution set" when you mean answer(s)
  21. "Low-hanging fruit" when you mean "obvious priority" or "simple to address"
  22. "Over (his or her) skis" when you mean unskilled, incompetent or unable
  23. "Reach out" when you mean contact
  24. "Weigh in," when you mean give your opinion
  25. "Connect the dots" / "Do the math" / "You do the math"
  26. "Like," "I mean," and "Kind of" (repeatedly, as filler)
  27. "Mental note" / "Note to self"
  28. "Move the needle" when you mean make a significant impact
  29. "Uber-"
  30. "Sooner rather than later"

Note: This list is an excerpt of a longer list I posted on the Recovering Leader recently, entitled, "Honestly, Like, Umm, 63 Bad Verbal Habits (new and improved!)"