HR & Management

50 office jargon phrases we hate

2 min read

08 April 2014

‘Blue-sky thinking’, ‘pinging emails’ and ‘drilling down’ have been named as some of the most annoying office phrases – according to a new poll.

The survey, by leading office experts officebroker.com, asked more than 500 workers to name their top three most despised pieces of management speak.

Jargon clichés such as ‘running something up the flagpole’, ‘thinking outside the box’ and ‘taking something offline’, also featured prominently.

Nearly eight in ten office workers also confessed to using at least two examples of cringeworthy office jargon each day.

Other examples of management speak which made workers see red included ‘on my radar’, ‘singing from the same hymn-sheet’, and ‘low hanging fruit’.

One man who took part in the study said: “I’m someone who despises management speak, but sometimes I just can’t stop myself using it. More often than not it will happen in meetings when I’m presenting something. I’ll open my mouth and guff will just spew out. I can even hear myself saying it as well – I sound like a complete pillock.”

The top 50, in no particular order:

  1. Blue-sky thinking;
  2. Idea shower;
  3. To ‘action’ a project;
  4. Going forward;
  5. Brainstorm;
  6. Getting the ball rolling;
  7. Drill down;
  8. Out of the loop;
  9. Thinking outside the box;
  10. Touch base;
  11. Singing from the same hymn-sheet;
  12. Circle back;
  13. Strategic fit;
  14. Bottom line;
  15. Low hanging fruit;
  16. Win-win;
  17. Play hardball;
  18. Best practice;
  19. On my radar;
  20. Bench mark;
  21. Value added;
  22. To run an idea up the flagpole;
  23. Results driven;
  24. To take something offline;
  25. The idea’s got legs;
  26. Game-plan;
  27. Hit the ground running;
  28. Customer centric;
  29. No ‘i’ in team;
  30. Back to the drawing-board;
  31. Re-inventing the wheel;
  32. Dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s;
  33. Action plan;
  34. Bells and whistles;
  35. Moving the goalposts;
  36. Back of the net;
  37. On the same page;
  38. Open door policy;
  39. To ‘ping’ an email;
  40. To kick a project into the long grass;
  41. Joined up thinking;
  42. Pick up and run with it;
  43. Streamline;
  44. Close of play;
  45. To take an idea or project ‘off piste’;
  46. Level playing field;
  47. Quick win;
  48. In the driving seat;
  49. No brainer;
  50. To ‘park’ a project.

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