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While it may come as a surprise that some of the terms we're guilty of using every day are appearing in such a list, there is a good explanation.

This week, I hope you'll be giving your 110% to think outside the box and capture low-hanging fruit by simply reinventing the wheel - but if you are unable to move the needle, just ping me to touch base on the next plan of action.

We apologise for the colourful language! But we wouldn't be wrong to guess that you're using at least some of these phrases every day at work, or possibly in your personal life too? 

Well, in a new study of 1,087 respondents based in the US, My Perfect Resume found that these are some of the most annoying business phrases, or corporate jargon, of 2021.

Every workplace brims with buzzwords, and these are the most overused (or most hated) phrases, per this study:

  1. Giving 110%—59%—to give all you have, and then some.
  2. I'll ping you—59%—to contact someone via computer or phone.
  3. Think outside the box—56%—to think creatively.
  4. Low-hanging fruit—54%—something you can obtain with little effort.
  5. Reinvent the wheel—53%—to duplicate a method that already exists.
  6. Synergy—52%—the combined value of two or more things will be greater than the sum of the separate individual parts.
  7. Take it to the next level—50%—to further improve something that's already successful.
  8. Blue sky thinking—49%—brainstorming where ideas don't need to be grounded in reality.
  9. Bring to the table—49%—to provide something that will be a benefit.
  10. Touch base—49%—to make contact or reconnect with someone briefly.

While it may come as a surprise that some of the terms we're guilty of using every day are appearing in such a list, there is a good explanation, i.e. most of us don't really look at it as jargon, but simply as the language of doing business.

One of the respondents shared their thoughts:

"I think a lot of the jargon has become so ingrained in the everyday speech patterns that we don't realise we use it most of the time. Think of baseball talk. The announcers' lingo is so packed with phrases like 'air mall,' 'at the letters,' or 'brushback' they are probably unaware they speak the baseball language only enthusiasts can follow. The same now seems to hold true for the business sector, with jargon phrases popping up without people realising they use them."

Interestingly, the study also covers business jargon that respondents don't mind (or, the least-hated corporate phrases):

  1. Agile—29%—able to respond and adapt quickly to changes.
  2. Impact—32%—marked effect or influence.
  3. Robust—34%—able to perform well without breaking down.
  4. Gain traction—36%—when things are starting to move towards the desired goal.
  5. Deep dive—38%—to do an exhaustive analysis of something.
  6. Leverage—38%—to use.
  7. Vertical—38%—a group of companies/customers tied to a specific niche.
  8. Scalable—40%—able to grow without being hampered by its structure or available resources.
  9. On the same page—41%—to have the same kind of understanding as others.
  10. Lots of moving parts—41%—a complicated situation with many variables.

What is some of the most over-used corporate jargon in your industry or workplace? We'd love to feature your anonymous submission in the next edition of this story! Simply write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your nominations.

And if you're in the mood for more such stories, have a look at our compilation of the most liked and disliked email greetings.

Photo / My Perfect Resume

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