Top 10 Phrases Nobody Should Use At Work...Ever

Nobody likes a cliché! Are we all on the same page about that? Here is a top 10 of phrases that we need to omit from all of our workplaces expeditiously.

1. Touching Base
[I am just] touching base [with you on] = "I am contacting you to ascertain something"

What to say instead:
"Hey, how's the project coming along?"

2. Run this up the flagpole
Let's run this up the flagpole = "Let's get feedback from management / personnel / market research about this"
What to say instead:
"Let's get feedback from management slash personnel slash market research about this."

Photo by Irene Chaney

3. Proactive
Can you be proactive about this?
This means making sure that all of your ducks are lined up in a row.

What to say instead:
"Can you be a little more liney with your ducks, row-wise?"

4. Synergy
Making sure all of your energy is lined up in a row, and flowing in the same direction.
What to say instead:
"Let's all be very energistic, proactively speaking, lined up and row-wise! Yeah!"

5. Deconstructed couscous.
"Deconstructed couscous" speaks for itself. It says "Hellooooo...I'm a dish from the Maghreb, popular in Greece, and by golly I'm postmodern - I've been deconstructing here under your desk for the last two years, in that tupperware bowl you've been looking for! Forgot about me didn't you? YOU! IDIOT! GET ME UP OUT FROM UNDER HERE AND INTO A LAB, PRONTO! AND GET ME A HOTLINE TO YOUR WORLD LEADERS!"

6. Pink Nelly
"Where is Pink Nelly?"
The nickname for work colleague Nathan Johnson.
What to say instead:
"Where's Nathan?"

7. Estonian Momma
An overweight girl from a former Soviet satellite.
[Have you seen that] Estonian Momma [working in the store room]?

What to say instead:
"The girl from Eastern Europe in Stock Control is clearly clinically obese!"

8. Paradigm Shift
Any proposals for radical change in the work culture are "paradigm shifts".
What to say instead:
"We need to hook Mother Duck by the beak and change the direction of all of our ducks."

9. Changing the goalposts
Objectives or targets that move, for example: "[The client] changed the goalposts [mid-project.]"
What to say instead:
"The client cooked the mother duck, and now he's gone running off and all the ducklings are following him in a different direction."

10.  "Let's line up all our ducks in a row."
This phrase - and any of its variations - is the worst phrase of all to use.