Each year, PR pro Rob Deigh does every writer a service (and makes some of us feel just a little embarrassed) by producing a list of the worst business clichés. Getting rid of these “fetid phrases,” as he calls them “will make your communication clearer, and people will be more inclined to pay attention.”
You can find the full 2015 list on Deigh’s newsletter, but here are the ones that particularly grate on me when I hear them in a speech or presentation. (Punchier, clearer alternatives are in parens.)
- Brain dump (briefing)
- Granular (more detailed)
- Rock Star (Springsteen and Elvis Costello are. Elon Musk and Serge Brin — brilliant and rich as they may be — are not).
- Mission critical (essential)
- Future plans (just “plans” – ALL plans are future)
- Best of breed (most successful)
- On their radar screen (we have their attention)
- Close the loop (tell everyone involved)
And now in the interest of full disclosure, here are a few that MAY have crept in to speeches I have written.
- Crunch time (near deadline)
- Push the envelope (exceed limits)
- The perfect storm of…(the right conditions for; a bad combination)
So I’ll add one more New Year’s resolution: to become more vigilant in seeking out and destroying cliche’s.
Check out Robb Deigh’s book, How Come No One Knows About Us?