20 Annoying Business Phrases You Should Avoid


Last week, I wrote about how business writers could improve their writing style. One of the points I made was to avoid using jargon and clichés.

When we write this way, we stop thinking for ourselves. We show our insecurity with expressing ourselves, and instead of being authentic, we create a mess of words that make no sense.

We know that we cannot completely avoid using these types of phrases, but like everything, it is better to use them in moderation. If we do not do this, we may find ourselves saying ridiculous things like ‘ascertaining a colleague’s bandwidth’, ‘reaching out’ to companies with ‘low-hanging fruit’ options, ‘drilling down on scalable issues’, and ‘tabling touch points’ until we have our ‘ducks in a row’.

As Anthony Ehlers said in his post How Clichés And Jargon Ruin Your Writing, “Jargon, another word with French origin, derives from a phrase meaning the chattering of birds. Meaningless jargon… is the kind of stuff politicians use or what we see in brochures.”

If these phrases are the only way of describing what we want to say, we can use them. If not, we should consider our options.

This infographic from National Pen shows how these phrases would appear if we took them literally. It also explains what they actually mean.

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. 10 Incredibly Simple Ways To Improve Your Business Writing Style
  2. The 17 Most Popular Genres In Fiction – And Why They Matter
  3. The Passive Voice Explained – Plus An Infographic

by Amanda Patterson

Find out more about our writing courses here: Timetable

This article has 1 comment

  1. Elaine Dodge

    What’s even worse is that jargon can mean different things depending on which side of the Atlantic you stand. In America, ‘table the conversation’ means ‘to talk about it right now’.

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