Work long enough, and you’ll encounter it: office speak. At first you don’t notice it. Then slowly but surely, you’re using words like “leverage” and “upsell.” It happens to the best of us. Still, the first step in addressing the problem, is realizing you have a problem.
Here is an illustrated guide to ten annoying office cliches, which proves that when it comes to office speak, it’s usually best to keep things simple.
Grabbing the low-hanging fruit in a vineyard is a straightforward proposition. At work, that proverbial “fruit” represents the easiest or most obvious tasks. The question is, if the task is easy or obvious, why do you need to bring it up? Skip this cliche – unless your office really does have fruit hanging from the ceiling, in which case we envy you.
Run it up the flagpole
The idea here is to figuratively run an idea up a flagpole to see who salutes it. Otherwise known as “tell people about it.”
Peel back the layers of the onion
Everyone knows that onions have multiple layers. So what do you gain from metaphorically peeling them back at work?
Square the circle
Referring to a problem in ancient geography, squaring the circle effectively requires one to carry out the impossible. Get ready, because this project might just require a miracle!
Reinvent the wheel
Also known as “let’s keep things simple.”
Break down silos
What exactly are silos? And how do you break them down? Could it be that you’re just asking to improve processes and talk to people more?
Pushing the envelope
This expression came from the US Air Force. It originally meant pushing an aircraft beyond its known or recommended limits.
Ducks in a row
Ducks are orderly creatures who swim in a row. You don’t need to bring them up every time you organize your filing cabinet.
Do people really play hardball? Most often this is used in a negotiation setting, so it’s possible the hardball player you’re referring to is just “negotiating.”
Keep me in the loop
This phrase assumes there is a loop in your office, which means the silos must already have been broken down effectively.