“Reach out, Touch base & Deep dive” The most disliked phrases in business?

Please Just Say It How It Is, is an article I wrote about those phrases in business that we love to hate.  It obviously hit a nerve with people, so I asked my network on LinkedIn what were the phrases that irritated them.

The response has been incredible with over 15,000 views of the post in a week!

The top three most disliked phrases were “Reach out” “Touch base” and “Deep dive” followed closely by “Low hanging fruit”.

Below is a list of those who took the time to share there’s. Get a coffee, sit back, read, laugh or wince at them.  My personal favourite was a humorous comment by Andy Hogg.

Angela Smith “What does that actually mean?” Do we really need the word “actually” in there?

Jennifer Robson “Right sizing” – when they actually mean redundancy.

Russel Jamieson RPP FAPM “Cross-stovepipe thinking” – connecting things together.

Debbie Frith  “Let’s square the circle”….what the heck does that mean!?

Gemma Nicholls For me it’s that Americanism “double-dip” as in “let’s not double dip here” No! No I say! It just sounds wrong.

Elizabeth White-Peters, CAP/OM “Not my job!” Ugh

Claire McDonald FCIPD “Think outside the box!!”

Lorraine Stallard FEPAA “Onwards and upwards!”

Michael Garton People who say, “I don’t like saying it, but we are where we are”. Why do people use the first part of the sentence???? Either don’t say it, or get over it and use it if it works.

Robert Coles “Blue sky thinking!” Makes me want to walk out straight away and get on the beach!

Kerry Dawson FEPAA, Dip. RSA “What can we tickle out of this?” “The project was volcanic, now it’s megalithic.”  “We all need to stay within our own swim lanes.”

Carol Bell RPP Hon.FAPM One word – GRANULARITY! (meaning detail)

Paula Garsden “Push the envelope!”

Rob Whitelaw “Strong Stable Leadership”, a true teeth grinder

Jim Lythgow I was once asked if I would like to swim in someone’s ‘think tank’….I punched them I’m afraid…or did I target his ‘low hanging fruit’?..I can’t recall

Graham K Cook “Going forward” is one of my most disliked phrases. Meaningless. Is there another way to go?

Paul Walton “See You Later” spoken by someone you are unlikely to ever meet again. I think “You wanna bet on that?”

Andrew Kain “Well, I would just like to Segway this suggestion into your swim lane.” I heard that recently… I mean seriously, what on earth was the point of saying such a sentence. I now look at that person as a clown, red nose, big shoes and all.

Sue Reed TAP.Dip, ABLD, MInstSMM, CIoM, ACIPD “I’m a Team Player” – you show people by your actions and behaviours not by telling them you are a Team Player. Your actions show the results.

Paul Harvey “If I’m being honest”…….what!?…So up until now in this conversation, am I to assume you’ve been telling lies?!

Björn Graf von Westarp Everything starting with “sustainable”…as “sustainability” is treated in 99% of all cases very unsustainable…

Sam Haggerty “Keep your powder dry”…. eugh!

Carrie L. Mittelstadt “Skin in the game.” I remember one project meeting where it was said over and over. I stopped counting after 15 times. In one two hour meeting!

Emma Gilbert “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” ……what on earth??!!!

Nicholas Skidmore “I would like you to furnish me with a quotation.”

Kevin Kelly We should “touch base.”

Curtis James Watson “When’s the best time to catch him?”- I don’t believe he’s falling out a window so you’ll probably never need to catch him!

Sarah Gate “Going forward”. Ugh. My favourite one is “Kick this into the long grass.”

Gavin Micklethwaite “This is where the rubber hits the road.” “Deep dive.” “Have a conversation with” meaning reprimand. “Slice and dice” meaning analyse data. “Hold his or her feet to the fire.” “Let’s park that.”

Laura Redfearn “Touch base”. Yuck! “Hit the ground running.” is also grating.

Stuart Sibcy “Never assume… it makes an…” Urgh. I can’t even bring myself to write it.

Pete Sutton “No offence but….”

Simon Slack “Let’s take that offline”

matthew townsley “Well where do I start.” “At the end of the day” (it’s bed time)

Stephen Heaton How about “Worst case scenario”, “Let’s run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it.” or my personal favourite “Reach out”.

Frances McConnell “Game changer.” (is it just me?)

Andy Hogg That ghastly Americanism that has crept like strangle-weed into our lexicon – “Reach out to”. If you’re in a meeting with The Four Tops then it’s acceptable, otherwise, please say “Get in contact with”.

Rod Fraser “Grab the low hanging fruit.” “Let’s not boil the ocean.” “Like nailing jelly to a wall.”,are all the preserve of the workplace tosser.

Alice Davies “Singing from the same hymn sheet”. No one is singing. It would make meetings a lot more interesting however…

Steve Broadfield  “Not to worry, there is enough money in the job.”

Emma MacPherson “What this country needs is a strong and stable leadership”. Sets my teeth on edge.

Daryl Wake “That serious workplace accident was a one in a million chance.”

Eileen Hill “Touch base.” argh!!

Bob Riley “Let’s take a helicopter view and racquet it out to divisions.”….Que? “What’s your ETA for departing?” “This is going to sound silly.”…then don’t say it.

Jay Compson “HOT JOBS”

Drew Hill  “Let’s not reinvent the wheel”. It’s usually taken to mean “Let’s not bother with the evidence, or detail, and just steal someone else’s idea”. The wheel may be fundamental, but wheels need to be designed for the task, fitted, trued, and maintained.

Bruce Layden “Synergies.”

Brian Bendel “Low hanging fruit.”

Philippa Lunn I hate “let’s have a three line whip”! I mean we’re not in parliament so why use that to stress the importance of the meeting!

Colin Smith “At this moment in time there’s nothing on the table.”

Karl Christy AIOSH. “We’re not here to apportion blame but….” knowing that what normally happens next is the blame game

David’ Parkinson “Just don’t pick up the first drink and you can’t get drunk.”

Owen McNally “We have always done it like this/that/this way”

Christine Armstrong Being referred to as “you people”. Very patronising and distancing!

Clare Bamberger “Going forward.” Is there any other direction we can go in?!!!! Or do we mean “From now on” as in we used to do it one way but from now on it’ll be different?

Rachel McGrory (BSc) “Can I pick your brains.” Makes me want to eat my own head as well as “Keep your eyes peeled”…..technically not really meeting material but the amount of times I’ve heard these phrases in the workplace…..yack

Tommy White 110%

Steve Richards “Have you reached out to HR?” “We’ll need a ‘drains up on this?” Always used to hear this after a major cock up!

Lisa Dellow ‘It is what it is’ What a rubbish saying, what does it mean? I find it so dismissive.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading these.  Whilst you are here, please do spend a few moments to read some of the other articles that have been written and published to help individuals and teams achieve even greater success.

If you like them, please use the Follow option in the right side panel to ensure that you are informed of future posts plus, help others and Pay It Forward, by sharing the site with those who may find it useful.

Would You Like To Be Featured And Pay It Forward To Help Others?

If you have some effective learning that would help either individuals or a team and want to be featured in the Pay It Forward Initiative, I’d love to hear from you.  The only criteria are (1) the learning is effective, (2) it takes no longer than an hour to undertake, (3) you don’t need too many resources, (4) you are able to share it freely.

If you do, please email me via  nick@ngagementworks.com or give me a call on 00447966306903 or use the Contact Form

Wishing you continued happiness and success in both work and life.

Yours behaviourally, Nick

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