Diane Schwartz of PR News assembled the most annoying saying that are trending. Honestly, I personally feel that to many people are drinking the Kool-Aide. Let’s not re-invent the wheel and let’s also limit the out-of-the-box thinking and review the overused terms and ideas.

Banned Words — Still at Large

Every year, Lake Superior State University, the BBC, the New York Times, Time magazine, and other institutions publish lists of overused words and phrases that they (or in the case of Time, their readers according to an online poll) would like to see banned, retired, and avoided.

ask for it by name (1999, 2000), awesome (1984, 2007), basically (1984, 1986, 1993), the bottom line (1979, 1992), classic (1982, 1989), enclosed please find (1985, 1989), exact same (1981, 1990), first time ever (1982, 1983), if you will (1984, 1991), incidences (1988, 1993), regardless (1979, 1988), live audience (1983, 1987, 1990), myself (1990, 1991), on a roll (1984, 1988), ongoing (1984, 1986, 1993), parenting (1978, 1991), passion/passionate (2013, 2014), proactive (1991, 1993), very unique (1983, 2002), viable alternative (1979, 1992), world class (1982, 1993), yuh know (1978, 1979)

Diane Schwartz’s Overused Terms


  1. “It is what it is.”  (It is annoying)
  2. “I personally feel.”  (redundant, redundant)
  3. “You need to be more passionate.” (You can’t make people feel passionate)
  4. The word “social” as a noun, as in, “Acme does social really well.”  (Being social means having friends, not selling product.)
  5. “I’m passionate about _________.”  (Really? Well lucky you. Guess what? I work for a living! )
  6. “I’m a ____________ junkie.”  (Since when is addiction a virtue?)
  7. “I’m just doing what I’m doing.”  (Redundancy will be the death of me.)
  8. “We need to own social media.” (Um, the public owns social media. What you really mean is you need to tie your social media efforts to a bottom line, be it financial, social good or reputation.)
  9. Curation
  10. News-jacking
  11. When young people say “Well in the old days…”   (Really? You’ve been around for 20-something years. The “old days” for you consisted of an era before social networking boomed and boy bands were the hot topic.)
  12. Guru
  13. “Hit the ground running”
  14. “Going forward”  (Meaning “from now on” as if you could also dictate past behavior)
  15. “No offense”  (Which means “I am about to offend you.”)
  16. “I’m confused”  (Which means “You’re confused and I am going to set you straight.”)
  17. Ideation
  18. “Circle back”  (Which means to bring your Conestoga wagon back into a circle.)
  19. Thought leadership
  20. “True that.”
  21. “With all due respect…”  (Hearing that phrase, buckle-up: The words that follow will certainly bear no relation to “respect” or any recognized synonym.)
  22. “At any rate:”  (It is so seldom used in connection with a literal rate of any sort.)
  23. “Game on.”
  24. Winning
  25. “To make a long story short” (already makes your story six words longer.)
  26. Meh  (Thank you for your in-depth contribution to the conversation that really helps us solve the problem. Now, please, get back to your texting.)
  27. “I don’t hate that idea.”  (Otherwise known as “let’s think about that more.”)
  28. “We want to be in high-profile media”  (…said everyone on earth that wants to be in any)
  29. “How should we spin this?”
  30. “We need to be strategic.” (“Strategy” and “strategic” are so overused; no one explains what they mean by this, what the plan of action is or the tactics we’ll use to achieve the goal.)
  31. “Let’s take a step back.” (It’s an early indicator that you are dealing with a conservative organization where innovation is outside their comfort zone.)
  32. “Let’s not re-invent the wheel…”
  33. “Value proposition”
  34. “Let’s get out in front of it…”
  35. “Where the rubber meets the road…”
  36. Game time
  37. Irregardless
  38. Anyways
  39. Frankly …
  40. Honestly …
  41. Don’t take this the wrong way/personally …
  42. Incentivize
  43. Ideate
  44. “Out-of-the-box thinking”
  45. “If you will”
  46. Arrrrrrggggggg!
  47. Open the kimono (creepy)
  48. Drink the Kool-Aid
  49. Move the needle
  50. Let’s talk offline
  51. Boil the ocean
  52. Awesome
  53. Ramp up. Tee up. Synch up. (Throw up.)
  54. Push back
  55. Thought starter
  56. Scalable
  57. Factoids
  58. Synergy
  59. Run it up the flagpole and see how it flies.
  60. Skin in the game
  61. Ping
  62. Bandwidth
  63. Hard stop
  64. “Let’s flesh/flush this out.” I’ve heard it both ways, and both make me cringe.
  65. “Perfect!” (Used in response to a question answered, such as “Would you like to see the wine list?”)
  66. “We have a horse in this race.” (Less painful than one’s own skin the game, but same principle.)
  67. “Under the radar” (I understand the need for stealth at times, but it can cause mid-air collision?)
  68. “We will be ramping up soon, so be ready!”
  69. Kill two birds with one stone (poor birds)
  70. Self-starter
  71. 24/7
  72. Bada-bing!
  73. Leverage
  74. Give 110%  (What is wrong with your math?)
  75. Win-win
  76. Net-net
  77. My bad
  78. “In the weeds.”
  79. “Put on your big girl panties.”
  80. I also think way too many trains have left the station and never mind how many people have been thrown under the bus.
  81. Utilizing
  82. “Transparency”  (Those who use this term are anything but transparent.)

“Balls to the walls.”