Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

19 Things You Need to Stop Saying in 2016 (Because You Sound Like a Corporate Robot)

You’re a stellar communicator and you make an effort to stay on top of the latest industry jargon so that you can get your point across as clearly as possible.

But what if these efforts are actually counting against you? It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true: Using simple words makes a better impression—and will help you communicate more successfully.

Corporatese is “a manner of speaking that uses the most amount of words to give the least amount of information,” and I’ve collected some of the greatest culprits.

Unsure if your vocabulary needs to be overhauled? Here are 19 words and phrases that you should nix in 2016.

1. On a Go Forward Basis

Time only moves in one direction. What’s the point of this phrase?

2. Deep Dive

Do you need a wetsuit for that? Why use such a metaphorical phrase when you could just say you’ll investigate something?

3. Paradigm

Would model or example get your point across?

4. Strategic + Any Word

Should you ever be deliberately not strategic at work?

5. Think Outside the Box

Saying you think outside the box is confirmation that you’re in the box.

6. Pivot

When I think of this word, all I can see is this Friends episode.

7. Per + Anything

This one drives me nuts. Per the Unnecessary Words Police, please stop using this word.

8. Honestly

“Actually, I was really hoping for your dishonest opinion or observation,” said no one ever.

9. Reach Out

You’re going to send an email or make a phone call.

10. Touch Base

Are you playing softball? No? Then you’re, yet again, sending an email or picking up the phone.

11. “Let’s Take This Conversation Offline”

So, you’d like to talk about something another time? Cool, but can’t you just say “Let’s discuss this later?”

12. Spidey-Sense

Cute when used to describe intuition to a four year old. Weird when using it in business.

13. Low-Hanging Fruit

A lot of words and whimsy to describe something that’s easy.

14. Guru

How about we just say expert?

15. Ninja

See #14.

16. Rock Star

See #15.

17. “It’s Not Rocket Science”

No, it’s not, but it doesn’t mean anything that’s not rocket science isn’t hard.

18. Face Time

Meeting. Just say meeting. (Unless, of course, you want to FaceTime, in which case, clarify FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangout.)

19. Off the Grid

It’s called not checking your email. Own it, call it what it is, you deserve it!

Which words do you think we need to stop using in 2016? Tweet me and let me know!

Photo of pencils and eraser courtesy of Shutterstock.