The 85+ Most Annoying Work Phrases EVER!

Expressions that annoy people in the office

You’ve heard them all a hundred times in countless variations– clichés, annoying words and expressions that attempt to communicate an idea in a way that’s hip, sophisticated and smart. Instead, they invariably make the speaker sound idiotic and cause your hair to stand up, your jaw to clench, and fingers to curl into fists.

And then it happens: You start using the expressions as well. It’s not intentional, it just happens, and before you know it you’re the person playing word bingo, tossing out irrelevant phrases as though you’re a power player… all the while knowing you just sound like a power tool.

With that in mind we turned to our Facebook friends and asked them for the expressions that annoy them, and within an hour we’d gotten tons of responses. So many, in fact, that we lost count after 85. Here they are, broken into vague categories for your convenience.

ClassicsList of work phrases that annoy people.

This one’s from the top.
Coming down the pike.
Keep this top of mind.
There’s no “I” in team.
Funnel this through the proper channels.
Step up to the plate.
You’ve gotta take BIG swings.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Go for the low-hanging fruit.
We’re behind the 8-ball on this.
Do you have bandwidth?
What is our window to get this done?
I can speak to that topic.
Hit the ground running.
I’ll bubble that up.
It’s in the pipeline.
Table that.
What’s the net-net of this?
It is what it is.
The masses are asses.
’nuff said. (As one writer noted, “I automatically lose respect for anyone who says that.”)


…not get bogged down here.
…stick a pin in it.
…take this offline.
…sync up.
…peel back the onion.
…all get on the same page.
…sidebar this discussion.
…circle back later.
(Or, “I’ll circle back on that one.” To which one reader wants to respond, “…in ever-decreasing circles until you fly up your own ass.”)

We need to…

…touch base.
…flesh this out.
…get everyone on board.
…put on our game face.
…be team players.
…be more aligned with our goals
…think outside the box.
…all be on the same page.
…drill down. (or) …dig deep.
…keep our eye on the ball
…up the innovation.
… create some buzz.
…up the buzz.
…go viral.

Useless Starts to Sentences

At this point in time…
At the risk of overstating…
Just to review…
Just so we’re clear…
To make sure we’re all on the same page…
The narrative should be…
For all intents and purposes…
Now more than ever…
With that being said…
To your point…
According to contract language…
Having said that…
At the end of the day…
When the dust settles…
Moving forward…
So our take away here is…

Expressions That Make You Want to Slap Someone

We can’t change the behavior without changing the culture.
It’s how we’ve always done it.
Don’t be a part of the problem, be part of the solution.
Cut the theatrics!
Let’s take this down a notch.
You need to own that project. I mean really own it.
Don’t talk to me unless you have a solution!

Edu-speak Overused Phrases or Terms

action item, cadence, due diligence, economies of scale, expected student learning outcomes, feedback, FYI, game changer, impactful, innovation, innovate and elevate, please advise, rubric, learning resource center,  leverage, literally, minutia, monetize, on the margin, robust, stick-to-it-ivness,  synergies,  and new media—even though the internet isn’t “new” anymore.

Legacy Staff  a.k.a. those who survived the last round of layoffs

Thought Partner a.k.a. “I wasn’t telling you how to do it, I was just being a good thought partner.”

Best Practices – To which one reader responded, “I have to use ‘best practices’ all the time because it’s more polite than saying, ‘You’re doing it wrong!'”

Expressions That Kind of Make Sense (but Don’t Really Make Sense)

We need a “strategic strategy”
We’ll need to socialize that.
We are in violent agreement here.
Is there a world in which…
That isn’t in my swim lane.
That’s good money after bad.
That’s his wheel house.
It’s baked in the cake.
I don’t disagree with you. (or) I’m not disagreeing with you. (Instead of saying, “I agree with you.”)

New Phrases That Will Soon Become Cliché

Let’s get all the puppies in a box.
Blue sky. Think blue sky!
This is a top plate item
We need a viral video. What can we do to make a viral video?
I don’t like the optics of that situation.
We need to triage these responsibilities.
(from the sports lover) We’ve all got skin in the game. (or) We need to get skin in the game. (or) Skin in the game!

Sacrificial Statements

It’s our obligation to the employee.
It’s for the children.
It’s for a good cause.
There’s no pay, but you will make a lot of connections with working professionals that will turn into tons of work down the line.