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9 Irritating Business Cliches Nobody Wants to Hear Anymore

Source |  |  BY:Bernard MarrBest-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Leading Business and Data Expert  


Long before overused business clichés become the subjects of vitriolic blog posts with headlines telling us they “need to die,” they are “scream-inducing” and to “never” use them, they were uttered in offices because they were memorable and interesting. Then, they too, became too much of a good thing and lost their impact. Favored phrases change over time, and if you don’t drop some of the tired business clichés I list below quickly and adopt phrases that are more meaningful for people in modern work environments, your words will be lost on your colleagues and employees because they’ll be too busy rolling their eyes.

When you are compelled to accept “it is what it is,” “work smarter, not harder” and more, by all means keep your trap shut and don’t SAY it. Just act. Or embrace some of the alt phrases from my list below that are currently in favor with millennials.

It is what it is

Is that the best you can do? Don’t hide behind a cliché. Try to make the best of a situation and find a better solution for whatever “it” is. The first step is to be clear about what “it” even is.

Alt approach: Take action rather than express a meaningless cliché.

Work smarter, not harder

While the intent of this phrase is good, helping people enhance the way they work, for many reasons it feels like an underhanded and not very specific way of saying their current way of working is lacking.

Alt approach: Help people actually work smart and talk about specific tactics, not vague clichés.


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