12 Most Offensive Phrases You Could Use in Your Business

12 Most Offensive Phrases You Could Use in Your Business

Listening to most business people talk makes me cringe. They purposely sprinkle their language with fancy schmancy catch phrases and five dollar words in what I can only assume is an effort to make up for years of being picked last in kickball. Could you be one of them?

Let’s take a look at 12 of the most offending phrases and find out…

1. Out of the box

Are you an “out of the box” thinker? Guess again. If you actually use the phrase out of the box for anything other than making fun of people that say out of the box, you are about as inside the box as you can get. You know that stray styrofoam peanut that gets wedged under the inside flap deep inside the box? Yeah, that’s you.

2. I’m a guru

Please don’t call yourself a guru just because you are pretty good at something. You aren’t a guru. If you think you are, clearly you don’t know what a guru is. It’s not clever. Nobody takes you seriously. We’re not impressed. Perhaps you should call yourself a unicorn instead. It’s equally as absurd.

3. My two cents

Is that all your advice is worth? If you don’t think that what you are about to say is worth more than 2 cents, what am I supposed to think of it? I’ll tell you what, how about you keep your 2 cents and only speak up when you are ready with your $2 million dollar advice?

4. Let me give you my card

If I wanted your card, I would have asked for it. Now you’ve not only killed a tree but because I’m going to throw away your card the second you turn around, you’ve now put it on my conscience. How about this. Make me want to ask you for your card instead. Try spending more than a few minutes with me. Learn who I am. Tell me something really interesting about yourself. This is called building a relationship.

5. Literally

I am literally going to gouge my eyes out with a dull butter knife if you continue to use the word “literally” when you literally mean figuratively. Seriously.

6. It’s not rocket science

Is this the official measurement that determines if something is difficult nowadays? It’s not rocket science. I bet it’s not a bologna sandwich either so why not use that instead? Because it doesn’t make any sense? Gotcha.

7. We have synergy

Peanut butter and chocolate have synergy. You and some guy that you just met at a local networking event do not. And telling them that you feel synergy in an effort to sell something to them or their clients is pretty crummy.

8. Social media ROI

Stop talking about ROI when it comes to social media. Social media is meant for building relationships. If that turns into business, great. If it doesn’t, great. It shouldn’t be your sole purpose. We, as your customers, friends and followers are offended by it. Ask your spouse what the ROI on your marriage is and let me know how it goes.

9. State of the art

You can’t describe something that is state of the art with a phrase that is not state of the art.

10. New media

Newsflash! The Internet is well over 20 years old. Google is almost 15 years old. Facebook is 8 years old. This is not new media. It’s media. Stop pretending like you created this new form of marketing and interaction to share with the world. You are using the same tools as the rest of us.

11. Cyberspace

Would you please just call it the Internet already? I think that pretty much covers this one.

12. To be honest with you

No, I would prefer that you lie to me. The problem with saying “to be honest with you” insinuates that everything else you have said up until this point has been a complete and utter lie. For example, I have the ability to communicate with sea urchins but to be honest with you, I really like hot dogs.

So, how did you fare? Don’t worry if you failed. We’re all guilty of blurting out a phrase or two at some point or another. Besides, who’s to say I’m even right? It’s just my 2 cents.

Featured image courtesy of Jimmy Prescott licensed via Creative Commons.

Marc Ensign


I should warn you. I am not a Guru, Jedi, Rock Star or a Ninja. I'm just a guy that knows an awful lot about a bunch of stuff and I like to tell stories about it on my blog. I tend to write mostly about social media, Internet Marketing, SEO, blogging, life, business and the fuzzy stuff in between your toes. I think my stuff is really good. You'll like it…trust me. You should really check it out otherwise I might be highly offended.

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