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Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

The 10 Most Overused Business Phrases

If you’ve ever sat in a meeting and listened while the same tried and true phrases were trotted out time and time again, then you’ll truly appreciate this run down by Tom Jeffries of Bizdaq of the top 10 most overused – and annoying – business phrases you’re likely to hear in the boardroom:

The phrases, which were identified based on a survey of some 500 Bizdaq customers, are said to be the most grating and irritating to workers:

1 – Ideate/ideation

Coming in at number 10 is the term ideate, which means to come up with ideas. Ostensibly, saying “brainstorm” or “come up with ideas” is passé, but Bizdaq customers noted that ideate is unnecessarily complicated and makes the user sound pretentious.

2 – ‘The Uber for…’

In short, calling yourself the “Uber of something” essentially means providing an app or business online that relays to an off-line service. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with calling yourself the “Uber of gutter clearning,” for example, Bizdaq notes that the sheer number of businesses piggybacking on Uber’s success has earned it the ninth spot on the list.

3 – Low-hanging fruit

Everyone loves a good metaphor, but low hanging fruit – meaning a task that can be achieved relatively easily – has drawn negative attention because it has been used so much that it has become a very tired cliché.

4 – Mission Critical

Mission critical refers to an action or item that is vital to the success of a project or organisation. Sure, it sounds good if you’re launching the next space voyager, but when it comes to picking a new printer ink vendor, it feels a little over-dramatic and is sure to lead to eye-rolls from even the most stoic of employees.

5 – The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is an all-encompassing term for when everyday objects are connected to the Internet. Much like “the Uber for…”, this phrase suffers from being way too overused and is often very much misused due to its somewhat vague nature.

6 – Growth hacker

Growth hacker, or growth hacking, describes carrying out tests to identify the quickest way to grow a business. While the concept of this one is actually pretty cool and to the point, it also suffers from over use and is quickly becoming very much hated!

7 – Synergy

Why say synergy when you mean team work? Because it sounds cooler of course!! But be warned: The term draws the ire of employees who agree that it is both unnecessary and it can confuse people who are unfamiliar with the word.

8 – Deep dive

To “deep dive” into something is to quickly immerse a group or team into a situation for problem solving or idea creation. While the idea behind it is good – get a group to solve a problem by all focusing on it –the notion that all it would take to solve a problem is to take a “deep dive” can belittle the problem at hand, and the workers being asked to solve it!

9 – Leverage

In business, the term leverage means to use something to maximum advantage. While a popular term for upper management, it draws ire from employees for being both confusing and frequently misused.

10 – Mumpreneur

As if working mothers in high places didn’t have it hard enough, now they have to be called “mumpreneurs.” Being a parent isn’t a defining part of being an entrepreneur, and many “mumpreneurs” feel that assigning a gender tag to the term makes it incredibly sexist, which is the reason it’s number one on the list.


Can you think of any phrases you would like to see added to this list? Let us know in the comments!

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