50 Business Clichés to Avoid Overusing in Business School
Every profession has its lexicon, and it is unavoidable to resort to the jargon of your concentration. Still, when words and phrases are overused, they lose their meaning, and may have the undesired side-effect of making the user look like a dilettante. Some of the top offenders that are used too often in top MBA business schools are defined follow:
#1 Everything 2.0
Synonymous with “new and “improved,” this phrase, like the technology it refers to, is outdated.
Problems, goals, assignments, and obstacles now fall under this blanket term.
#3 Due Diligence
This assignment requires research. And work. You should do the work.
#4 The Elephant/800 Pound Gorilla in the Room
The thing no one wants to talk about, except they’re talking about it.
The first “pre” should be sufficient to denote that it is done ahead of time.
#6 Thinking Outside the Box
If you’re using this phrase, you are thinking within the box.
#7 At the End of the Day
Often used to get the last word, this phrase is just used up. Give it a rest.
#8 Paradigm Shift
Simply, “a major change,” this phrase is vague and may indicate the user’s failure to understand that change.
#9 Last one to the Party
Everyone but you knows about something.
#10 Anything On Steroids
It’s doing well, although it may have anger issues.
As a verb, it means “improve,” “encourage,” or “strengthen.” Try one of those.
Facts are important.
Everyone benefits, except your audience.
#14 Move the Needle
#15 Wrap One’s Head Around
One understands, or needs to understand, a complicated issue.
#16 ROI (Return on Investment)
Throw this one out there to show your grasp on accounting.
#17 Raise the Bar
Improve your standards.
#18 Get Boots on the Ground
Begin working, quickly.
#19 All Hands on Deck
Everyone must begin working.
The mundane portion of the meeting/ logistics.
Indicates a sum greater than its parts, and a speaker trying to sound informed.
Constantly changing might be a negative attribute.
#23 Moving Forward
Until time travel is invented, there is no other way to move.
#24 Agent of Change
Don’t claim to be one if you’re using this term.
Tacking –ize on the end of a verb sounds business savvy.
#26 A Perfect Storm
This is used to dodge responsibility for a disaster.
#27 Hold Your Nose
Prepare to do something unpleasant.
#28 Put Lipstick on a Pig
Every action is results-oriented.
Seemingly superior to “retroactive” or “inactive.”
#31 Core Competency
The things you are good at.
#32 Long View
Consider the consequences of your decisions.
#33 360-Degree Thinking
If you read this literally, it implies you end up exactly where you started.
#34 Expectation Management
Don’t get your hopes up.
#35 Your Two Cents
If your thoughts aren’t worth more than that, keep them to yourself.
#36 Broken Record
Another outdated technology reference.
#37 Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
There can only be one boss.
Spreading quickly, like a disease.
#39 Eat Your Own Dog Food
Get about some unpleasant business—you might want to hold your nose.
#40 Value Added
Marketable or profitable, proof that ending any word with –able makes you sound capable.
Having an impact, this word is a recent invention.
#43 Push Back/Blow Back
#44 Level the Playing Field
This doesn’t happen in any sport.
#45 Drop Back and Punt
Start over from the beginning.
#46 Thrown Under the Bus
#47 Low-Hanging Fruit
Something so easy it should be done first, or an idea so obvious, more thought is
#48 A Few Quick Wins
Small, easy-to-come-by success, usually accomplished by going for the low-hanging fruit.
#49 Fill-in-the-Blank Is the New Fill-in-the-Blank
Originating in fashion writing, avoid next-big-thing hype.
#50 Best Practices
The way things are typically done.
Do your best to be creative but direct when you speak, and stand apart from your colleagues in your MBA school. This is important, because if you have done well enough to be admitted into a good Online MBA school, you want to be sure to communicate effectively.