Language

5 Expressions Communicators Use That Drive Me Crazy

Me pulling out my hair!

I admit upfront that I am not always consistent in my views. In an earlier post I acknowledged that I am not a fan of numbered lists in blog posts and tweets (i.e. – top ten lists, etc.) . But sometimes the occasion calls for a list. I guess this proves that there’s always an exception to the rule. Today I have a list of my own: 5 expressions communicators use that drive me crazy. These phrases are trendy, trite and overused. My hope is that after reading this post, you will share with me some expressions that you can’t stand. Hopefully we can add to my list.

  1. “No worries” – When people say “no worries” do they really mean no worries? I wonder. It always seems insincere to me. What do you think?
  2. “Really?” – Okay, everyone has started overusing “really.” It has become absurd. Really? It is the sarcasm that goes with the one-word-question that gets to me.
  3. “Reaching out to” – As in “thanks for reaching out to me.” I hate this one. PR people and communicators use this all the time. It is definitely a trendy expression.
  4. “Vetted” – This expression came into vogue when Sarah Palin received the Republican Party’s nomination as their vice presidential candidate in 2008. There was a whole lot of vetting going on – and the rest of us have been busy vetting ever since. Please stop the vetting!
  5. “So” – Think about this one for a moment. I’ve recently run into a number of people who start the majority of their sentences with the word “so.” “So, I work at a medical center in Nebraska…”  I first noticed this about a year ago when I was interviewing physicians on camera and many of them started their responses to my questions with  something like: “So, in hematology oncology we…” In my opinion, “so” has become the new “like.” Has anyone else noticed this? It is probably more accurate to say that “so” is the new “um.”

By the way, I also struggle with people using texting language in oral communication. An example is when people actually say “LOL” or “LMAO” in a conversation. To use a trite expression, it just rubs me the wrong way. But, that’s where the rubber meets the road. So circle back to me and share the expressions that drive you crazy. At the end of the day, I’d love to know if we’re on the same page. (It probably needs some vetting.) Perhaps we can take this conversation offline – unless you’ve just got too much on your plate right now. I’m willing to push the envelope, take a deep dive, and think outside the box. (Oh yeah, this trite language can be a ton of fun!)

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

7 comments on “5 Expressions Communicators Use That Drive Me Crazy

  1. Really?
    So, thanks for reaching out to me and unknowingly vetting me to sum up your pet peeves into one meaningless, thoughtless post.. don’t want to read it? hey…no worries!

  2. Don’t forget that some of these phrases are powerful indicators of in-group status…essentially a way to say “Hey, I’m part of this work culture.”. I remember when I first transitioned from academics to corporate, I literally collected phrases like the ones you mentioned (i.e., “reach out to”, “bio break”, discuss this offline”, etc.). I felt very “in” when I used these phrases, and very “out” if I misconstrued them. My academic friends still love it when I bring them a new “cool” corporate phrase. I know you’ve said you hate some of these, but you might miss them if you worked somewhere with no overused phrases! 🙂

  3. I had to laugh at ‘no worries’ being on your list. I am American born but now live in Australia where ‘no worries’ or ‘no worries, mate’ is a lifestyle, not an overused phrase. When I first moved here twenty years ago, I thought it was such a funny saying. Now I use it all the time, but mean it. There are so many things that people get too stressed out about in the corporate world. Chill out, enjoy life and try to have ‘no worries mate’!

  4. Dan… Love it! I also HATE the phrase “I’ve been blessed.” Granted, not exclusive to us communicator types, but offensive nonetheless (to me anyway!).

  5. This one seems to be rampant in Southern West Virginia “” I don’t reckon”” as a response to unexpected or sensational news (“”I just got fired from my job”” response “”I don’t reckon”” The first time I heard this MY RESPONSE WAS “”Yes, I really got fired” which perplexed the other person I do not live there (left 37 years ago) was visiting a few years ago and heard this phrase

  6. Michael Ullinskey

    I’ve noticed the use of the word “so” just as you described it in so many radio talk show interviews. One person being interviewed used “so” as a transition into nearly every answer unless it was a yes/no question. There must be more creative fitting transitions than “so”.

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