The 50 most hated office jargon phrases

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

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

Nearly eight in ten, 79%, of 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 a diatribe of guff will just spew out. I can even hear myself saying it as well –I sound like a complete pillock.”  

One woman added: “Office jargon is definitely a man thing, you very rarely hear women speaking like that.

“I definitely think that when you hear a person using jargon, it’s because they haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about, but still need to sound clever”.

A spokesperson for commented: “There are some pieces of management speak that have become so overused that they are now a parody of themselves, blue-sky thinking springs immediately to mind.

“If used sparingly these phrases can be quite effective but if relied on too much they will detract all meaning from everything you say, and make you look like a cheap David Brent impersonator.”

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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