Expecting all your coworkers to understand your jargon is just blue-sky thinking. Maybe we should brainstorm or action a project so that going forward we can think outside of the box and make sure we are all singing from the same hymn sheet. If not, we can circle back and not have to re-invent the wheel to understand each other.
While the London survey identified phrases that our friends in the UK use, most seem to be the same as we use in the US. I admit I hadn’t heard “make sure we are all singing from the same hymn-sheet,” but I intend to adopt it in my side gig (unpaid) as a church music director. It won’t be jargon then, though.
Here are the phrases the Brits found annoying, as reported by the Daily Mail. What ones should we add to it?
- Blue-sky thinking
- Idea shower
- To ‘action’ a project
- Going forward
- Getting the ball rolling
- Drill down
- Out of the loop
- Thinking outside the box
- Touch base
- Singing from the same hymn-sheet
- Circle back
- Strategic fit
- Bottom line
- Low hanging fruit
- Play hardball
- Best practice
- On my radar
- Bench mark
- Value added
- To run an idea up the flagpole
- Results driven
- Hit the ground running
- Customer centric
- No ‘i’ in team
- Back to the drawing-board
- Re-inventing the wheel
- Dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s
- Action plan
- Bells and whistles
- Moving the goalposts
- Back of the net
- On the same page
- Open door policy
- To ‘ping’ an email
- Kick a project into the long grass
- Joined up thinking
- Pick up and run with it
- Close of play
- To take an idea or project ‘off piste’
- Level playing field
- Quick win
- In the driving seat
- No brainer
- To ‘park’ a project
Instead of one of these phrases, say what you really mean. Then you don’t run the risk of people misunderstanding you. Although, sometimes, when you have nothing of value to say, being misunderstood at least lets the other person think they are the problem instead of you.
This originally appeared at Inc.
11 thoughts on “The 50 Most Annoying Office Jargon Phrases”
Not included on the list, which I hate, “reach out”.
How did “open the kimono” and “eat our own dogfood” not make the list?
I have not heard eat our own dogfood before and I’m grateful. Open the kimono needs to never come up again.
Enterprise wide (though I have gotten used to this one)
Solution a problem (once I asked the speaker if she meant solve and she glared at me)
Incent (as in provide an incentive)
All these word salad phrases is just an attempt to sound as if the person using those words actually knows what they’re talking about, making it harder to understand what the goal is. Most of the time, these individuals are just trying to show how they can with word illusions appear pro efficient and “reactive”. But they have no idea of what really works to achieve the end goal.
Proper use of words and phrases are symbolic representations of complex concepts, processes, procedures, and information.
A person can use a common phrase to efficiently communicate in the fewest words possible what would require orders of magnitude more words to explain to the less knowledgeable, wasting the time of the more knowledgeable. If a person doesn’t understand a phrase they should take it upon themselves to learn or ask questions one on one _without_ slowing everyone else down. And embarrassing themselves in the process.
I just read a “ha ha look how bad Gen Z is” article in Forbes or something similar that was pointing out how absurd it was that that Gen Z workers don’t know these 15 common “business phrases”.
I actually didn’t recognize most of them myself and I’ve been working in finance for the last 13 years. At least your list are phrases I’ve actually heard in the office.
Totally agree with you that Jargon is a tool to obsfucate and not great communication in general.
“Offshore”. The first time I heard that one was when I was working in Louisiana (where I was born and raised). Offshore literally meant, off-shore, as in on an oil rig. No idea how it came to mean overseas/international.
How about – low hanging fruit?
Comments are closed.