50 Annoying Business Phrases you hear at Work

June 6, 2016 Julian Gros

50 Annoying Business Phrases you hear at Work | GoToMeeting


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50 Annoying Business Phrases You Hear at Work 

You know what we are talking about, those annoying business phrases that you hear from managers and colleagues daily. In fact, these irritating pieces of business jargon are used in 64% of offices. Some use these phrases to cover up their lack of knowledge, while others just want to make something sound more impressive. Either way, many find them annoying. Here’s a look at some of the most annoying phrases used at work.

  • It is what it is
  • Win-win
  • Content is king
  • A lot on my plate
  • Get the ball rolling
  • Thanks in advance
  • Game changer
  • Par for the course
  • Back to the drawing board
  • Apples to apples (compare similar things)
  • It’s on my radar
  • With all due respect
  • ‘Elephant in the room
  • At the end of the day
  • ‘No brainer (so ridiculously obvious)
  • ‘Take this offline
  • Hit the ground running
  • Run the numbers
  • Best practice
  • Corporate values
  • Reach out
  • Low hanging fruit
  • Do more with less
  • Ping me
  • Thrown under the bus
  • Close of play
  • The strategic staircase (Also known as a business plan)
  • All hands on deck
  • Keep your eye on the ball
  • Bang for the buck
  • Dive deeper
  • Drill down
  • Get my manager’s blessing

Move the goalpost

This is another way of saying change the rules and make the challenge more difficult.


According to Jennifer Chatman, professor of management at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas school, this term is “the most condescending transitive verb ever”.

Supervisors often use it when they want their employees to complete an important task, but want them to know they are still in charge.


This term is habit number 6 in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.

According to Covey, “Synergy means two heads are better than one.”

Ducks in a row

This term originates from bowling, before they had a machine to set pins automatically.

The bowler would need to get their “ducks in a row” before throwing the ball down the lane.

Try “get organised” instead.

Bite the bullet

This phrase came about during the U.S. Civil War when wounded soldiers would literally bite a bullet during surgery in order to distract from the pain.

Other ways to say it: “Take a difficult step” or “Make a tough decision.”

Open the Kimono

A less creepy way to say this is just to say “reveal the information.”

I don’t have the bandwidth

An annoying way of saying you are too busy.

Across the piece

The phrase has become more popular, and irritating, in the past few years.

Try saying “We should look at all the options” instead.

Cascading relevant information

Try just saying that you are “speaking with colleagues”.

Move the needle

This term is used often among venture capitalists. They want to know that something is going to “move the needle”, or provoke a reaction.

Helicopter view

Try “a broad view of the business” instead.

A 2014 study by the Institute of Leadership % Management found that these three were the most overused phrases used in the workplace:

  • Thinking outside the box
  • Going forward
  • Let’s touch base

Sources: linkedin.com, ceoworld.biz, theguardian.com, dictionary.cambridge.org, forbes.com, history.com, uk.businessinsider.com

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