human resources online

Think outside the box: Stop using these business jargon and what to use instead

share on

Business jargon, corporate speak, office lingo… whatever you call it, it's safe to assume most people have heard it (and probably used it), and many of us have at least one or two phrases we thoroughly despise.

It’s almost impossible to avoid them altogether, but according to Premier Inn, these are the ones we should make most effort to veto from our office vocabulary.

So, let's touch base on this business jargon. Polling the British public, Premier Inn revealed that top 10 most loathed corporate expressions are:

=1.  Touch base (17.26%)Use this instead: “Let’s make contact” or “Check-in with each other”

=1.  No-brainer (17.26%)Use this instead: “Obvious decision” or “Easily made decision”

3.  Outside the box (17.06%)Use this instead: “Think creatively” or “Think in an unconventional way”

4.  Going the extra mile (16.66%)Use this instead: “To do more than is expected of you”

5.  Blue sky thinking (15.56%)Use this instead: “No limits”

6. Game-changer (13.92%)Use this instead: “Significant shift in the current way of doing/thinking”

7. Brainstorm (13.47%)Use this instead: “Group discussion to produce ideas/solve problems”

8. Ping an email (13.02%)Use this instead: “Send you an email”

9. E-meet you (12.47%)Use this instead: “Great to be introduced”

10. Thought shower (12.37%)Use this instead: “Group discussion to produce ideas/solve problems”

While the the UK has an unwanted abundance of business jargon, Premier Inn also uncovered some cringe-worthy phrases closer to home in APAC:

Keeping father happy (asal bapak senang)Country: IndonesiaMeaning: Hiding bad news from the boss

Rubber time (jam karet)Country: IndonesiaMeaning: Flexible time

Fair suck of the sauce bottleCountry: AustraliaMeaning: Wishing to be treated fairly

Nine cows, one hair (jiu niu yi mao)Country: ChinaMeaning: Something that has little impact

Click through the gallery for imagery of business jargon around the world:

[gallery link="file" ids="131868,131869,131867,131866,131860"]

With “touch base”, “no-brainer”, “outside the box”, and “go the extra mile” topping the most hated lingo, Premier Inn also looked into where these monstrosities came from, how they came about and why they’re so widely used.

Touch base“Touch base” originated from baseball. The American sport is famous for its four bases which the player must run around in order to score points. Touching base is a vital aspect of the game, as without it, the player can’t advance. In business terms, this has come to mean “let’s make contact”, “cover all possibilities” or “check-in with each other”.

No-brainerNo brainer is another disliked piece of office lingo. Americans coined the phrase in the 1950’s to refer to things that require little mental effort. It can also be used to describe an easily made decision. Looking at the results of our survey, perhaps the easily made decision would be to omit “no-brainer” from your next email.

Outside the boxThis usually refers to “thinking outside the box”, and once again Americans are to blame for this one-we’re starting to see a pattern here! This phrase was born a little later than “no-brainer” in the 1960’s and has become one of the biggest business clichés. Although we’re sure you know it, the phrase means to “think creatively” or “in an unconventional way”.

Going the extra mileThis phrase, which means “to do more than is expected of you” actually has religious origins. It originates from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Ch 5 v 41) which refers to a law that would allow Roman soldiers the right to ask any Jewish citizen to carry his belongings for a mile. Jesus used this example to show his followers that they can do more than is expected of them, by taking Roman soldiers’ belongings for an “extra mile”.

Infographics / Premier InnLead photo / 123RF

share on

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top Human Resources stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's Human Resources development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window