Last week, after I posted that link about overused corporate catchphrases, some of you shared the lines that drive you the most nuts: Commenter Leah threw in “At the end of the day,” Dana suggested “On the same page,” and Jane wrote: “I had to bring a definition of bandwidth to a meeting to get people to stop saying it.”
My personal all-time favorite is when the word “ask” is employed as a noun.* Like, let’s say your boss wants an update on that strategic partnership you’ve been put in charge of. You have no update, but that’s not an acceptable response. So you go with, “I’ve put in the ask. I’ll circle back to them and then loop you in.” Saying “the ask” instead of just saying you asked sounds so much spiffier, right? (Likewise, saying you’ll “circle back” is a brilliant way of putting a big, pretty, distracting ribbon on the fact that your ask has gone un-responded to, or that perhaps you forgot to put in the ask at all.)
OK, people. Now I want to hear some more good ones from you. I know we can get a seriously definitive list going, so think big-picture. Really drill down. Don’t just focus on the low-hanging fruit.
*This phrase is also the inspiration for the title of Sam Lipsyte’s smart and hilarious novel, The Ask.