Never Use These Phrases At Work

Don’t even...

Never risk sounding cheesy, unreliable, or negative at work again by omitting these 13 bad phrases from your vocabulary.

No offense

Starting off a conversation by saying, “no offense, but your idea sucks” will probably cost you in the business world. Instead, offer your two cents without offending anyone by saying, “Hey, that sounds good, but what if we tried this?”

At my last job, we...

This should go without saying, but every new position you take needs to be approached as a fresh start. That applies even if you’re performing the same tasks for a different employer.

Every workplace has different procedures and standards of conduct. Nobody likes a complainer, so focus on fitting in before you start speaking up about what needs to change.

Out of the box

The phrase “out of the box” is so overplayed (and ironically, not very “out of the box”). If what you’re looking for is a creative idea, just ask for it. And if your boss is the one using this phrase, politely ask for more details on what’s expected of you so you’re going in the right direction.

With all due respect

Don’t lead a conversation with a weak phrase like “with all due respect.” If you want to challenge your co-worker about their latest idea, go all in. Ask them outright how they plan to execute this idea, and find out what the stakes are without using a phrase that sounds so wimpy.

It is what it is

This is simply a passive aggressive phrase that doesn’t sound good leaving anyone’s mouth. “It is what it is” basically says that you're not going to try to make things better. Leave any negativity at home and try brainstorming new ideas to make the office the best it can be.

Hit the ground running

Remember, if your boss mentions this in relation to your next big project, what they’re really saying is: “Get things started quickly and on a strong note.” If you say this when assigned a new task, it might sound like an employee who’s out of their depth and overcompensating with a cliché.

No brainer

The phrase “no brainer” sounds kind of...juvenile. Sure, there’s a time and place in the office to be relaxed (like during your lunch break) but try doing it with more intelligent slang, or try saying “that new client seems like a sure thing.”

Bang for your buck

“A good bang for your buck” doesn’t always come off right in certain circumstances. If a new deal is worth a client’s hard-earned money, it might be better to discuss in detail rather than using a phrase this cheap.

Elephant in the room

If this phrase is being used, chances are there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Don’t ignore the problem by talking about Dumbo. This isn’t the circus. Unless you work at a circus, in which case, please disregard this slide and tend to your elephant.

But seriously: Do some detective work and get to the root of the problem. Once any hidden issues are out in the open, your team can work towards forming a proactive solution.

Get the ball rolling

“Get the ball rolling” is an old cliche that should be retired. If you’re trying to get a new project started, don’t get fancy when telling your coworkers. Just do it and let the results bowl them over.

What you mean

When you say the phrase, “you know what I mean,” it’s as though you’re asking for reassurance. You don’t sound confident and can come across like you’re trying too hard to connect with the other person. Say what you need to say and then ask the other person how they feel about the situation. This allows you to connect without sounding too needy about it.

Low-hanging fruit

This phrase would be fine if you were talking about actual fruit dangling from a tree. But you’re not. You’re talking about winning something or someone over without trying too hard (ahem, “that new deal is completely feasible). Leave the fruit talk at the orchard.