Most Overused Lingo at the Office

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Biz-speak. Buzz words. Overused lingo. Call it what you will, we all have our lingua pet-peeves. Why do employees overuse words that, oftentimes, aren’t even real words?

Among some popular “officespeak” terms: net-net, ping, touch base, deliverable, incentivize, impactful, learnings, synergy, influencer. Or what about those TPS reports?

“Words get ingrained at work but it shows you are speaking the office vernacular,” Michelle Goodman, career and workplace columnist, said. “On the one hand, we’re trying to speak the language at work and fit in. But the downside is it bothers some people and creeps into your social life.”

Goodman said every industry has its own idioms, and the tech industry often has the most new phrases. Her least-favorite terms?

“Circle back and take this offline are two that drive me crazy. It’s just a wonky way to talk,” she said.

Another “weird” one, she said, tech companies use to describe using their own products: eat your own dog food.

“They also call it dog-fooding which is ridiculous. It’s software jargon,” she said. “That’s one I thought was so weird. It’s not really a great analogy either because dog foods to humans is a gross concept.”

Tell us what phrases you think should be taken offline.

Other words and phrases that can be overused:

  • low-hanging fruit
  • think outside the box
  • not in my wheelhouse
  • leverage
  • metrics
  • paradigm shift
  • Chinese firewall
  • value-add
  • build the deck
  • shoot me an email
  • hold the fort
  • synergies/synergistic
  • key insights
  • key drivers
  • key takeaways
  • high level overview
  • best practice
  • action items
  • next steps
  • value proposition
  • table this
  • hard stop
  • boil the ocean
  • circle the wagons
  • throw it against the wall and see what sticks
  • parachute in
  • low-cost country sourcing
  • efforting
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