41 terrible work phrases you need to stop using immediately

Yes, we’re guilty too

Working Girl Melanie Griffiths Woman Work Desk Office
Working Girl Melanie Griffiths Woman Work Desk Office

Yes, we’re guilty too

Remember when ‘LOL’ was actually a really embarrassing thing to say? Fast forward a few years and we’ve now started using 'LOL' for real, and emojis became an acceptable, if not complex, form of language; even the weird winky-tongue-out one was deemed OK.

The same cannot be said for these terrible, will-never-be-ok-to-use-but-we-use-them-anyway, marketing phrases that crop up in a high percentage of meetings across the working world.

The popularity of these wildly questionable phrases probably stems from the fact that everyone has imposter syndrome at work, and by blurting out 'synergy' or 'ball-rolling' in a high pressure situation suddenly makes you sound like you know a thing or two about a thing or two. But never, ever, is there a right time to ‘open the kimono’, unless you’re on your hols, obviously.

So take heed of the phrases below, and pray you never come into contact with any one of them.*

*Yes, we have been guilty of spewing out a few of these, but we have learnt from our mistakes and are sticking to a dignified silence in meetings from now on. OK? Thanks in advance...

- Let me drill down into that

(Translation: I need to take a closer look)

- I don’t have the bandwidth

(I'm kinda busy right now. Soz.)

- They keep moving the goalposts

(or changing their minds)

- With all due respect...

(with none)

- Open the kimono on it

(tell me EVERYTHING)

- It is what it is

(and what it is, is what it is)

- I need it by end of play

(finish this before you go home, basically)

- Let’s synergise

(two heads are better than one)

- At the end of the day, I think…

(my opinion is all that matters. The end.)

- Let’s get the ball rolling

(Let's begin)

- Just par for the course

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(That's just how it is. Deal with it.)

- It’s on my radar

(I know)

- I need to get my ducks in a row

(I should really sort my s**t out)

- Let’s see what’s under the bonnet

(take a closer look)

- Can you reach out to them?

(give them a buzz, yeah?)

- Let me get my marketing/editorial/business ‘hat’ on

(I need to use a side of my brain that I don't usually. Buckle up!)

- It’s back to the drawing board

(This isn't working, people. Let's start again)

- Deep dive

(we should delve further into this, umm, fascinating spreadsheet...)

- Think outside of the box

(let's look at this from a different perspective)

- It’s a game changer

(This is big. Huge.)

- Take this offline

(Just come and speak to me face to face, alright)

- No brainer

(Easy peasy)

- Cascade the information to the relevant parties

(Or just tell everyone)

- I need all hands on deck

(Shape up everyone, we've got work to do)

- Ping me

(or y'know, send me an email)

- You’ve hit the ground running

(great job!)

- Let’s touch base

(catch up soon)

- Time for an idea shower

(let's talk)

- We need to go after the low hanging fruit

(minimum effort for maximum results, right?)

- Do more, with less

(see above, but with less fruit)

- Keep your eye on the ball

(don't screw up)

- It’s more bang for your buck

(you get more out than you put in)

- Let’s put that on ice

(shall we talk about this later?)

- I need my manager’s blessing

(I'm totally passing the buck here)

- Let's address the granularity

(that's a fancy word for level of detail, folks)

- I'm circling back

(Not to be confused with circle back’s younger sibling ‘loop back’, to get back in touch with someone)

- Take a helicopter view

(look at the general overview)

- Sometimes you have to punch a puppy

(not literally, of course, but sometimes you have to do something detestable for the business)

- Al desko

(as in 'lunch al desko' - at your desk)

- This is now road-blocked

(we're ending this right now)

- Strategic staircase

(a to do list to help you proceed)

And if you're working abroad, language learning app, Babbel offer up these handy buzz phrases....

The Brazilian (Portuguese) version of “low hanging fruit” is “Pescar os peixes do aquário” which translates in English to “fish the fish of a fishpond”

Dutch: Lange tenen hebben – Translation: “having long toes” Meaning: being overly sensitive.

German: Halt mal den Ball flach – Translation: “Hold the ball flat” Meaning: keep your feet on the ground.

French: Je suis sous l’eau – Translation: “I am underwater” Meaning: I am very busy or ‘drowning’.

Polish: Resetować się w weekend – Translation: “Weekend reset” Meaning: relaxing at the weekend (implies that it may be over a wine or two!)

Holly Rains

Holly Rains is the digital editor of Marie Claire UK. She has over 10 years journalism experience, working as an editor and writer, specialising in digital media, content strategy and dog breeds. Prior to Marie Claire, she has held senior staff positions at ELLE UK, Grazia and Company magazine.

Holly is a frequent speaker, panelist and interviewer on a range of subjects including media trends, careers and entertainment. From working with Reuters to provide global red carpet coverage for events like the BAFTAs, to discussing fashion and beauty trends on network TV, she was also the host of the Marie Claire series ‘Holly’s First Dates’, where she regularly interviewed a mix of inspiring woman and A-list celebrities (including Jack Black, Dakota Fanning and Renée Zellweger)  - a series which garnered half a million views in its first two months. And was approved by The Rock.

Her love of office-based meetings means that the days of discovering the melting point of Cadbury's Flakes are long gone, but when she isn't dreaming of scheduling in meetings, she likes to think about social media, and how best to avoid it whilst still retaining the title of 'digital' editor. She also likes learning about emerging technology, Influencers and how to become a Financially Responsible Adult.

Contact Holly: holly.rains@futurenet.com