22 Business Terms That Should Be Banned In Your Office

These phrases create clichès and just cause confusion


Business jargon is one of the most irritating aspects of office life. Workplaces are hard enough without people obscuring what they’re actually saying with misused,meaningless or unnecessary words. If you want a happy and motivated workforce, one of the places to begin is removing this ’business talk’ from your daily vocabulary:

Price point

What you mean to say is ‘price’. Just ‘price.’ The ‘point’ adds nothing and is only being used to make someone feel more like a business big shot who knows what they’re talking about. In reality, it only makes them look like they’ve got no idea.

Touch base

In baseball terms, to ‘touch base’ is something you do to make a run legal. When people say it in a business context, however, they essentially mean ‘let’s talk about this’. Which not only means someone has appropriated a sports phrase for the office - annoying enough as that is anyway - but they’re also suck out of it all of its original meaning. Use instead: Let’s talk.

End of play and Pick up and run with it

Just don’t use sports terms in business. Whether this is touching base, end of play, pick up and run with it, or calling someone a quarterback. Use any other words instead, even if they’ve got nothing to do with business.

Get my manager’s blessing AND singing from the same hymn sheet

Religious phrases should equally be avoided. They’re liable to cause offense, and they sound dated.


In Stephen Covey’s inexplicably popular ‘7 Habits of Highly Successful People’, Covey defined his sixth habit ‘synergize’ as meaning that ‘two heads are better than one.’ The habit he must have meant to put was ’pretend to invent already well-established concepts like cooperation by giving them a new name.’

Thanks in advance

Presumptuousness is not an attractive quality.

Say instead: ’I’ll be really grateful if you could do this for me.’ Thanks in advance.

With all due respect

‘I’m about to say you’re wrong and patronize you.’

Don’t say anything in place of ‘with all due respect’, just say what you want to say.


Business speak for ‘do something outside of your job description for me’, which is annoying in and of itself, but also implies that they’re the real brains behind the task and you’re only able to do it because they’ve had the good grace to deign empowerment upon. If you ever feel like tell someone you’re going to empower them, try just asking them instead.


A confusing and essentially meaningless word for ‘local marketing campaigns’.

Low hanging fruit



Innovate is not an intrinsically annoying word. Its overuse and misuse has made it so, one of the biggest issues is the propensity to set it as a business goal, rather than a process. See also, Disruption

Core Competency

Competent, as defined in the dictionary, means ‘having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully.’ In the business world, however, it seems to gets translated to mean a firm’s or a person’s fundamental strength. Praising someone for being ‘competent’ at their job, is like giving a dog a biscuit for sleeping. Just say core strengths.


I’m a human being, not a piece of lego. If you want to talk to me, just say you want to talk to me.

Reach out

If you want to talk to someone, just ask.

We’ll run that idea up the flagpole

What on Earth does this even mean?

Open door policy

Just say you can always talk to me, a literal open door policy sounds unsafe.

Think outside the box

Needless. A good idea is a good idea wherever it’s come from. ’Think about a solution to this problem’ is perfect acceptable as a replacement.

Action plan

As opposed to a passive plan? An inaction plan? All plans are action plans, so just say plan.

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