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Dumping these workplace phrases would be a ‘win-win’ (Yes, that’s one of them)

Staffing

Nicole Serres is an author and president of Star Staffing, based in Petaluma. Read her previous columns.

Editor’s Note: Take up Nicole on her request. Send your least-favorite tired workplace sayings — making sure to say why — to myleastfavorite@busjrnl.com.

“Think outside the box.” ”Win-win.“ ”Synergy.“ ”Work hard, play hard.“

What do these all have in common? They’re all tired buzzwords we use in the workplace.

Did you know more than 1 in 5 people dislike business buzzwords, according to a recent survey done by Preply and published on its website.

The article details that 2 in 5 respondents say they hear these tired phrases once a day or more, and 7 in 10 say they use buzzwords themselves.

This got me thinking. What antiquated, cringe-worthy business words do I use? Here's my list of five phrases to begin removing from your vocabulary.

No news is good news’

Gone are the days that not hearing from a client is good. People want regular, real-time communication that comes to them. It also builds trust and credibility that will help when issues do arise.

‘Let's circle back’

How many times have you heard this one? I'm guilty of using it.

It's used when we're getting off-topic or a larger discussion is needed. Yet, there's no accountability to that phrase or room to set a date for further "circling back" to discuss.

So let's say this instead, "Hey Julie, you bring up some great points we haven't thought of. Let's set up a meeting to discuss this more on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Does that work?"

It’s worth taking time in the moment to honor your team’s ideas, without abandoning the current meeting’s agenda.

‘I’m just being honest’

Why do we have to announce our honesty?

We are honest. Let it speak for itself.

But the bigger issue with this is that it usually follows a negative comment as if that statement makes it all better. News flash: it doesn’t!

When you have constructive feedback, do it compassionately, with empathy and care. Feedback is a two-way street and should be given in the spirit of voluntary growth, not ridicule.

‘The new normal’

It’s not new anymore.

We’ve been dealing with COVID for two years now. It’s just normal. I don’t like it any more than you do, but it’s no longer new.

We’ve adjusted to work and life now. It’s time to move on from the saying as well. It’s also worth considering what we are trying to sweep under the rug by using this phrase. Pay attention to where you have the urge to use “new normal”, and see what common themes might emerge. Then address those.

‘Hit the ground running’

This one wants to be associated with exceptional output, but it creates unnecessary pressure.

What is wrong with starting slower and building up? Instead, you could say “We need these factors to succeed, and we need everyone’s help to hit our goal. Let’s brainstorm what we’ll need to be successful.”

Those are my top five, and I'll be working hard on rephrasing and eliminating each one. What would you add to this list? (Send your vote, with the reason why, to myleastfavorite@busjrnl.com.)

Staffing

Nicole Serres is an author and president of Star Staffing, based in Petaluma. Read her previous columns.

Editor’s Note: Take up Nicole on her request. Send your least-favorite tired workplace sayings — making sure to say why — to myleastfavorite@busjrnl.com.

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