10 Phrases You Should Never Say in Business

Whether you're speaking in a meeting or a job interview, these phrases are a quick way to lose points.

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Michael Wade
There are certain words and phrases that can trigger the rapid loss of points during a job interview or meeting. While this may not always occur, these terms have such frequent side effects that they should be avoided.

1. "The bottom line." Effective when first uttered, it is now two steps removed from "Great Caesar's ghost!"

2. "Walk the talk." Another clunker. If I received royalties for every time the talk has been walked—or at least taken out for a short stroll—at diversity conferences, this post would be coming from Maui.

3. "Basically." This is the new weasel word. We didn't say we're doing it. We're "basically" doing it. Aargh.

4. "My bad." What are you doing? Playing video games at the mall?

5. "Back in the day." Please. Push this one much further back.

6. "Cool." The lingo of aging boomers who listen to Dylan and look like Elvis. The old Elvis. Use it around younger people and watch their eyes roll.

7. "The C-suite." Cute. Not clever, but cute.

8. "Cut to the chase." Stop that. Turn off the TV and go read some Dickens.

9. "None of us is as smart as all of us." True. Sometimes one of us is smarter.

10."Thinking outside the box." Are you thinking outside the box when you say "thinking outside the box"? We'll settle for just thinking. No cardboard required.

Michael Wade writes Execupundit.com, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.


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