I am hoping this will be a little bit fun and insightful, helping us with our communication skills.

I think in the last week alone, I heard the phrase "moving forward" or "going forward" about 3,584 times.

What phrase gets on your (and probably others') nerves?


HMac's picture

zoellner: :lol: my coffee almost came up through my nose. Thanks, Janet!


stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="zoellner"]I hate the term [b]"hot wash"[/b]. Yikes, I'm a nurse manager and I can't tell you what images this conjured up the first time I heard it!!![/quote]

I'm obviously entirely too innocent as the only thing that came to mind when I first heard the term "Hot Wash" was doing laundry.

You're post and my memories from when I was a Nursing Ancillary (not sure what the equivalent role in the US would be, or even if there is an equivalent role; not clinically qualified but carries out basic clinical and other procedures (administering meds (oral, rectal, IM and IV through existing line), cleaning and dressing wounds, bathing and dressing those with mobility problems, feeding, restraining violent residents &c) under hands off supervision (i.e. within shouting distance) of clinically qualified staff to reduce the workload on qualified (i.e. expensive) staff, a step or two up from domestics in terms of pay and responsibility) early in my career has now put entirely different images in my mind.


ctomasi's picture

[quote="dad2jnk"]there should be no such things as "Casual Fridays" for the manager (in a early podcast somewhere), a business setting is always formal - even at so-called casual businesses.


I don't recall hearing that in a podcast, but I do recall Mark saying it to me in person a couple years ago. Several people, even my wife (who works for the same company in the same department), ask me each Friday "Why aren't you wearing jeans?" I'm getting tired of telling them "It's an option, not a requirement." I use the "professional" opinion with my directs.

lazerus's picture

Hey, bringing back around to te original subject, here's one that I haven't heard here yet that's getting on my last nerve:


bug_girl's picture

I can't believe no one posted this:

The Adventures of Action Item!

asteriskrntt1's picture

Bug Girl

That is absolutely hilarious. Definitely to be printed out and posted. Well done and thanks for sharing.


tomcox's picture
Training Badge

Here are my top three:

[b]The Way Ahead[/b] This reminds me of my time in the service. I think it is a USMC expression. When used by marketing types it grates a tiny bit.

[b]Blue Ocean[/b] I read the book too, but when someone has a "blue ocean" idea, or they want to "blue ocean" a product line, I get a little nauseated.

[b]Solution Provider[/b] Here is an [edited] excerpt from a company with which I do business occasionally:

"[We are] a global leader in creating network solutions that solve the toughest communications challenges. We specialize in enabling complex, high-bandwidth communications networks that are critical to the operations of military, civilian government and commercial organizations. We use creative engineering and innovative technology to develop solutions that solve your toughest communications challenges – with speed and quality."

After 57 words, I still don't know what they do to what products and in which market they do it. I like to throw a net across everything I can do, but I'd rather say in 10 words some of the stuff I can do than 60 words that mean nothing. For all I know this could be a blurb about the techies that work at Radio Shack or Best Buy.


jemflower's picture

My top two:

"We are where we are": what the hell? As a filler comments go, this one drives me WILD!

Silos - e.g. XYZ has a silo-based mentality, X has a silo mentality, everyone wants to operate in their own silos. My current levels of exposure to this particular term are reaching critical mass!

Fun thread!

:) jemflower

lazerus's picture

In the spirit of gobbledygook, I came across this nonsensical "rich creative" today:


Company X is a highly experienced technology and business services provider supported by a global consortium of multifunctional professionals and collaborative alliances. We are a relationship-centric team founded on principles of collaboration, communication, knowledge excellence, and integrity. Our structure affords us the capacity to tailor each project team to the unique needs and characteristics of our clients. We offer the following services:

Digital strategy

Technology development & integration

Partnerships & business enablement

Brand building & marketing

Cause-based campaigns & promotions[/quote]

Seriously? Come on. What do you do? What is "Digital Strategy"? I want to call them and say: "I'd like a six-pack of digital strategies, with a side of business enablement, please".

Psh! :roll: This is a very silo-based mentality.

AManagerTool's picture

Some more of my favorites:

Pinch it off - "We need to pinch this project off! It has been going on for too long." That is just disgusting!

Task Force - "The Leadership Task Force is going to meet tomorrow." *Business Expression Referee walks on to the field and picks up flag and makes the sign of a finger gun against temple* "Overly dramatic use of a word for another mundane meeting! Two RedBulls to stay awake!". Sounds like we are going to war and the meeting is in a bunker underneath London.

That ActionItem comic book has it

jemflower's picture

[quote="AManagerTool"].......Sounds like we are going to war and the meeting is in a bunker underneath London.[/quote]

....but obviously, you don't mean a silo, right? :twisted:

:) jemflower

stephenbooth_uk's picture

This one's been cropping up quite a bit lately in both internal messages and marketing literature I've received: "A personal invitation from (name of senior director type person)"

In an email sent to 500+ people starting "Dear colleague/valued customer/Sir or Madam," with instructions at the bottom on how to 'reserve a space'.

Not my idea of a personal invitation. If it's a personal invitation it should be, well, personal. Not the same boiler plate that everyone is getting. At least use a mail merge package to put my name in the salutation and ask me to confirm I can come, not tell me how to book a place.


Davis Staedtler's picture

[quote="asteriskrntt1"]I am hoping this will be a little bit fun and insightful, helping us with our communication skills.

I think in the last week alone, I heard the phrase "moving forward" or "going forward" about 3,584 times.

What phrase gets on your (and probably others') nerves?

*RNTT[/quote]This is funny... this is a great thread you all started. I absolutely can't stand the phrases, "going forward" or "great call-out" If I hear any of them again on a conference call I'll crack! :)

corinag's picture

[b]Integrated[/b] - nothing is whole, complete, connected anymore. everything is integrated "integrated business solution" integrated approach to marketing. Integrated into what, or with what, I always ask.

[b]360 degrees[/b] It just kills me. It never gives any idea about the content of the approach, just that it's supposed to be comprehensive (btw. another contentless buzzword)

[b]new media[/b] - I don't hate it per se, although it's a bit vague, I just dislike the way in which the term crops up in company profiles and websites as an indicator of the company's hipness, coolness, nowness (in there even such a word?)


Management501's picture

"It is what it is"

I liked it the first thousand times I heard it. After that . . . .

kklogic's picture

I heard one today for the first time and JUST about died.

Our company is "right-sizing." WHAT?? Do you think that if you don't call it "down-sizing" that people will react better. :shock: I'm almost more angry at how stupid they must think people are to call it that than I am the actual activity taking place.

hyubdoo23's picture

"Managing expectations". Where i come from, that means not lying to people.

asteriskrntt1's picture


I feel your pain. Don't foget to follow the MT guidance... get your finances in order, manage, build relationships and all that other good stuff.

Email if you need some help.


KS180's picture

teamwork is my new company's buzz word.

Usually it means the hammer is about to come down on somebody or 'hey Jerk' you were supposed to do something.

TomW's picture
Training Badge

[quote="kklogic"]Our company is "right-sizing." [/quote]

I always though right-sizing meant that a company let an office get too big (overestimated a market, made a bad forecast, etc) and now needs to trim back. Down-sizing just means that they are dumping people under the guise of not enough work/profits/free desk space/etc.

My favorite recent buzzword is "thought leader."

paizleygrl's picture

Company phases I can do without:

More bang for the buck (I think this one is sexist)

Paradigm Shift (yes, people are STILL using it)

"Customer Delight"

Synergistic Energy

All of these are Consulting phrases. :roll:

mtietel's picture
Training Badge

More bang for the buck (I think this one is sexist)

Until you mentioned it, I've never thought about it in an off-color context...
I've always thought of it as bang = noise/impact and buck = $.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

More bang for the buck (I think this one is sexist)

Until you mentioned it, I've never thought about it in an off-color context...
I've always thought of it as bang = noise/impact and buck = $.[/quote]

Same here, I figured it referred to explosives or possibly fireworks.

On reading Paizleygrl's entry I looked it up. According to [url=]the Maven[/url] at RandomHouse it has nothing to do with sex or sexism but refers to bombs. The first authenticated usage was in 1954 by Charles E Wilson, referring to the 'massive retaliation' policy of John Foster Dulles. I have not been able to find an authenticated reference to a sexual or sexist meaning.

That said, language does change over time and terms that were once offensive become inoffensive whilst inoffensive ones become offensive. When you see or hear the word 'Bulldozer' do you think of a piece of earth moving equipment often credited with enabling the allied victory in the second world war (the current common usage of the term) or of a whip wielding overseer who would flog slaves in the cotton fields and sugar plantations to make them work faster (the original meaning of the term)?


bflynn's picture

I heard "get familiar" for the first time the other day. It seems to be the in vogue buzz word. Not "get familiar with", no. Just "When it comes to your customer....get familiar".

I'm not sure I kept my eyes from physically rolling. I know they did mentally.


BJ_Marshall's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

[quote="bflynn"]"When it comes to your customer....get familiar".[/quote]

That just sounds dirty to me. :oops:


jhack's picture
asteriskrntt1's picture

Brilliant John

Love the Onion. Don't get to it nearly enough. Humour definitely helps in the workplace and in life in general.

Thanks for all your great advice and contributions. You make a difference.


galway's picture


Used during face-to-face meetings, as in "that's really interesting, let's discuss that more off-line". How about in private, or after the meeting? And exactly what line are we on right now?

One particular manager I work with will pound "off-line" into every meeting several times. The phrase itself is not particulary annoying to me, but it's use in the place of direct, clear language implies that the speaker is more interested in the perception that the audience has of him/her than the message itself.

ashdenver's picture

I can't believe ya'll haven't mentioned the ubiquitous "go ahead and ..."! That was made famous in the movie "Office Space" and I swear every single person in my office uses it twenty-seven times a day. "Why don't you go ahead and click on that for me." "I'll just go ahead and get that done for you." UGH!!

The other one that's been stuck in my craw of late is "Synergy."  We are going through a national realignment and the project has been called "Synergy." "With Synergy, we ..." "Under the new Synergy structure ..." STOP!!

The newest is "the extra degree of difference." Someone sold a high-level muckity-muck the book & video package "212°" by Sam Parker & Mac Anderson. (It's about how at 211° water is just hot but at 212° it boils and that makes steam and with steam, you can power a locomotive so one extra degree of effort really makes a difference!) May I just say ... gag! True as it might be, it's still gag-a-riffic.

Some random others:

- kick it back / kick it around

- in the end (similar to "at the end of the day")

- passion

- world class

asteriskrntt1's picture

LMAO @ [i]gag![/i] and gag-a-riffic

jwtraylor's picture
Licensee Badge

1. Anything where giving over 100% would be a literal impossibility, but people insist on detailing how they plan to break the laws that goven our universe. And, as with grade inflation, "effort inflation" seems to be creeping in, so that "giving 110%" sometimes isn't enough anymore, or sounds like a decided lack of effort. We've got one guy who constantly seems to try and outdo his previous level of effort. He's up to 1000% now. I'm hoping his head explodes.

2. "Throw under the bus." Meaningless. Idiotic. Sounds like you either can't think of any other way to phrase "getting in trouble" or "calling someone out", or you watch a gigantic amount of reality TV. On the plus side, it is a wonderfully quick and easy shorthand to help me identify people whose intellect I don't have to waste time respecting anymore.

terrih's picture

I'm starting to get tired of the phrase "I've been tasked with..."

bug_girl's picture

I just have the song "Working at the Car Wash" stuck in my head whenever I read or hear "hot wash".

(the original song, not the recent version: )

I have to go find my platform tennis shoes and sequins--excuse me.)

bug_girl's picture

Ugh! New forum means I left a comment on a post that wasn't the last one.

Oh well, enjoy the music :)

Greenest's picture

"Walking the road to resolution" I find is usually used those who think it makes them look like an excellent crisis negotiator, but in fact they look like the CAUSE of the conflict!

Greenest's picture

Learnings "As in there were some 'learnings' from that," usually spouted by the Training and HR people.

What happened to the word 'lessons?'

mtietel's picture
Training Badge

"Lessons Learned" - unfortunately we mostly identify the lesson and seldom learn from it.

Life is a cruel teacher - you get the test first and the lesson after.