What would business communication be without catch phrases? (Other than clearer and more authentic.) Those bits of business wisdom or profound insights captured in clever metaphors are indispensable to the corporate world. Who doesn’t want to take an idea offline and bounce it off the wall to see what sticks, every now and then?
The problem of course is that over time, such phrases go from popular to common to annoying—much like an over-played pop song (anybody want to whoop it Gangnam style just one more time? Call me maybe).
Travis Bradberry recently compiled a list of 25 ridiculously overused phrases on Inc. Inspired by that, here are 31 more cliches to shun (the first 10 from a subsequent Twitter conversation).
To avoid sounding like a character out of Office Space (yeah, that would be great), try to stay away from these long-in-the-tooth, over the hill, Elvis (has left the building) expressions.
Some catch phrases come from the sports world. It would be better if these were all left on the field.
11. Slam dunk (as in an obviously great idea or foregone conclusion)
12. Skate to where the puck will be
13. You miss all the shots you don’t take
Some (many actually) come from the movies. Thankfully, almost no one says “make my day” or “surely you aren’t serious” (yes I am—and stop calling me Shirley) any more, but some of these moldy quotes refuse to disappear.
14. Carpe diem
15. You can’t handle the truth
16. Life is like a box of chocolates
17. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for (using any other word in place of “droids”)
And some come from the world of advertising. After 31 years, people have (generally) stopped asking where the beef is, but one still occasionally hears an updated product described as “not your father’s (fill in the blank).” (That’s #18.) Ugh.
Change is the only constant (19), so there are catch phrases describing different degrees of it:
20. Move the needle (a small but significant change)
21. Game changer (an idea with a larger impact)
22. Paradigm shift (a really big change)
And some come from…elsewhere. News events, misplaced metaphors, late nights at the bar, etc..
25. Make the pie bigger
26. Place at the table
27. Preaching to the choir
28. Drinking the Kool-Aid
29. Put on your big boy (or girl) pants
30. Open the kimono (please, no, this one hits a trifecta: overused, creepy, and vaguely racist)
Finally—catch phrases don’t have to be old to be annoying. They can reach eye-rolling, wince-inducing, fingernails-on-chalkboard status quickly through overuse, misuse and abuse. Case in point:
31. Growth hacking
What catch phrases would you advise others to avoid?