JARGONOLOGY: 10 Most Annoying Business Idioms

  1. Keep me in the loop! – What loop?  Just say, “Keep me informed.” Or say, “Keep me abreast…” On second thought, don’t say that either.
  2. It is what it is!  – What is what what is? And why don’t you tell me what it is instead of saying the redundant and obvious uninformative thing?
  3. Let me pick your brain! – Please don’t pick my brain. Pick anything else - fruit, your nose, scabs. Not brains!
  4. Let me play [the] Devil’s advocate! – The devil doesn’t need advocacy. He’s capable of doing his own work. Present potential barriers to proposed concepts without using that phrase.
  5. We all drank the Kool-Aid. – Look. JJ Evans and I prefer to think of Kool-Aid as nothing more than a refreshing drink. Plus, the saying conjures up bad memories of old news and marginalizes the gravity of a serious tragedy in human history.
  6. Give it 110% (or any amount OVER 100%)! - Only 100% can be given. If you mean to say that more than should be reasonably expected is going to be required, then say that!
  7. I want to verify I have all my ducks in a row! - Do you have ducks, Old MacDonald? And who makes sure ducks are in rows? Ducks don’t need our help. We just FOWL things up. Kidding. Seriously, we can just stick with crossing T’s and dotting I’s?
  8. I have a hard stop at... - Cut this out. If the meeting needs to go longer than you can stay, just don’t stay.
  9. What’s the best practice? – What’s best for you may not be best for me. We consultants create and use all kinds of terms to make ourselves sound smart. Generally, practices should be customized.
  10. At the end of the day - At the end of what day? Thursday? Pay Day? Mayday? Judgment Day?



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