For some peculiar reason, when people dress up in professional clothing, gather together in the same place and try to do work together, a mysterious phenomenon occurs – they all start speaking a new language! No, not Latin, not Ancient Greek and definitely not anything as cool as Klingon; our offices inevitably start speaking in the dreaded tongue of business clichés.

If you’ve ever managed an email inbox or sat through a lengthy planning meeting, odds are that there are at least a few phrases that send you into instant eye-roll mode the second you encounter them. Are any of the following on your list of least favorite business clichés?

15 Eye-Roll-Worthy Business Clichés

Case of the Mondays

Game changer

Touch base / Follow up


Re-inventing the wheel

On my radar




Team player

Quick and dirty

Deep dive

Low-hanging fruit

Get ducks in a row

Think outside the box

Whether they’re said out loud or plugged into an unfortunate email, these overused phrases can actually do more harm than just annoying your colleagues. Relying on clichés can hurt your credibility, cause others to tune out and, ultimately, obscure the real information or need that you’re trying to communicate. In an age of constant alerts, reminders and messages barraging us at all angles, people are getting better at tuning out information that is deemed unimportant. Speaking in common clichés is an instant red flag to listeners, opening the door to them opting out of what you’re saying.

Speak with Authenticity

How can employees combat this language let down in the office? Step one is becoming aware of the trigger phrases that can turn off your coworkers. After that, it’s all about slowing down. Before hitting the send button, consider taking a few extra minutes to review your emails for clichés. Then, bust out a trusty thesaurus to hunt for alternate phrasing.

When in doubt, side with authenticity. If you find yourself writing or speaking in clichés that make others cringe, consider replacing them with words that speak to your actual experience. Instead of a canned phrase that you think you should be saying, try including a real example from your life or something you actually say outside of the office every day. People will appreciate your confidence in speaking genuinely, rather than hiding behind worn out platitudes.

What are your least favorite business clichés? Share your best eye-roll-worthy phrases in the comment section below!