Thursday, October 29, 2009

Overused Business Clichés Need to Go

Posted by Leah Rice

In the recent issue of Philly Ad Club’s Ad News, Jack Paolin wrote an article titled, “Cliches: They’re all around us” and I thought we could all benefit from a little refresher on the cliché terms that are used way too often.

Paolin originally got the idea to write this article based on a September 2009 column by The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, Mike Armstrong, who criticized the use of business clichés. Here are some of the cliché terms that Paolin brought to light in his article:

  • win-win situation
  • thinking outside of the box
  • best practices
  • at the end of the day
  • going forward
  • Web 2.0
  • low hanging fruit
  • giving 100%
  • hitting the ground running
  • raising the bar

Paolin said that, “The Encyclopedia of Business Clichés points out that the worst offenders use them to hide. ‘By obfuscating, lying, confusing or just planning avoiding the issue, business people can avoid communicating.’”


The real reason behind these cliché terms is that they help business people succinctly describe a concept. Paolin wrote that The Encyclopedia of Business Clichés states that clichés “are actually quite useful, because they give you precise words to describe things that would be difficult to communicate otherwise.” I agree that these terms often sum up business topics, ideas and efforts so easily and just tend to roll off the tongue nicely.


Are you an offender? I cannot say that I have not been a cliché delinquent in my day, but let’s all work to be more original and to get to the point with our everyday business language. Going forward… I mean… In the future, I am going to make a consorted effort to avoid the use of these terms in my everyday business verbiage and I propose that you do as well.

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