There are a number of words and phrases that annoy the bejesus out of me. Teenage jargon is on the list but this is not a rant about the inability of teenagers to communicate with anyone over the age of 25. This is about the workplace.
One of my least favorite phrases is “moving forward”. Unless it’s a vehicle that’s stuck in park the phrase needs to be stopped. Sadly, it appears to be a favorite business catchphrase. “Moving forward we need to remember to put one foot in front of the other.” (Please, let’s see what happens when you don’t.)
Everyone has their favorite phrase or speaking habit. The ever present “you know” is one of them. But when you are in an office setting and sit around people 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week, their habits get on your nerves. For me, outside of the constant sound of someone crunching on crackers or chips, it’s someone inability to use descriptive words or the overuse of meaningless words.
As an example here is one side of a telephone conversation, the side I hear because of where my desk is located:
“Technically you need to review stuff, you know.” (It’s spoken as fact, not a question.)
“He can’t, I mean, he has stuff to check.”
“You technically have to review stuff, you know, but, I mean, you don’t have to approve it.”
Stuff is a useless word. It tells you nothing. “… and stuff”. What stuff? Is stuff a pile of dirty clothes, a basket of apples? Maybe stuff is that container of nuclear waste sitting on the railroad track. Stuff tells me nothing….unless you’re telling me to stuff it and then the issue becomes what exactly “it” is .
Technically is a word overused by someone I sit near in the office. Technically I need, I mean, put stuff in a Kleenex and, you know, toss it in the trash.
“I mean”. Using “I mean” in the middle of a sentence when you have yet to make any type of statement is a waste of words and breath. Be confident in what you’re trying to say.
Cut the extraneous words and this conversation pares down to this:
“You need to review the report.”
“He can’t, he has to review payroll.”
“You need to review the report but you don’t have to approve it.”
Words, people! Words! Language provides a cornucopia of words that will help you explain what you’re trying to say. And if we’re lucky, those words will make what you’re trying to say more interesting.