What are the 10 most annoying phrases?
How can you avoid an epic fail in the office? What really makes your blood boil?
Employment lawyers probably know better than anyone that in office life it is the small things that matter. Whether the temperature is too hot or too cold, the desk too far from the window or your colleague’s gym kit festering in the corner too near your desk, they can all become major issues leading to Grievances (with a very capital “G”). Why does Sue never put more paper in the printer when she’s just used it all up, or Bob never put the milk back in the fridge? These things really irritate. And, of course, what you say really matters too.
The recruitment business Reed Employment, recently published a blog post of the “Ten most annoying office phrases”, being those sayings and abbreviations that will either wind up your fellow workers or otherwise totally confuse them. Or both.
“Can I borrow you for a sec?”
In first place, according to their survey of 2,000 workers, the phrase most likely to make your colleague’s blood boil is “Can I borrow you for a sec?”. It was also held to be the most overused saying as well.
Not far behind came “How long is a piece of string” and “move the goalpost”. A surprisingly long way down the Irritation league table came “Teamwork, dreamwork” which only 9% thought unwelcome as in my view use of it ought really to be a trigger for summary dismissal. Other old favourites such as “win-win” and “blue sky thinking” followed.
The survey also showed that buzzwords often got in the way of effective communication. The phrase “dial it up” probably sounds like an invitation to make a telephone call but actually means the point needs to be amplified. Similarly the vaguely threatening “let’s take it offline” means to continue the conversation in private after the meeting, rather than “let’s settle this man to man outside”.
Language is the lifeblood of the workplace. We’re often told that people make decisions about others based on how they dress and their body language. This report suggests that if you do want to win friends and influence people you need to concentrate on what you say as well to avoid an epic fail, or #cringe. OMG (26%).