Business Words and Phrases to Avoid Using

Business Words and Phrases to Avoid Using

Whether you’re compiling your resume, drafting a job description, writing an email, or doing any kind of business and professional writing, there are certain buzzwords that will help you make the best impression. There are also words and phrases that you may be better off avoiding.

Whether they are offensive, cringeworthy, or simply annoying, here are some of the words and jargon a survey reported as overused and underwhelming.

Business Words and Phrases Not to Use

Some of these responses are surprising, because they are common terms that are used frequently in professional correspondence. However, some people would rather not hear them. Here’s a list of the top 20 words and phrases that respondents hated the most:

  1. Synergy
  2. Teamwork
  3. Touch base
  4. Raising the bar
  5. Think outside the box
  6. Work harder
  7. Best practice
  8. Paradigm shift
  9. The next time you feel the need to reach out…
  10. Empower
  11. Keep up the good work
  12. At the end of the day
  13. Give 110%
  14. It is what it is…
  15. Circle back
  16. Game changer
  17. Get on it
  18. KPI
  19. Move the needle
  20. Actionable

Here’s the full list:

What Not to Write in an Email

Survey respondents were also asked about what they didn’t appreciate reading in an email. The following phrases were ranked as the most passive-aggressive sentences received in email messages:

  • According to my records…
  • Any updates on this?
  • As per my last email…
  • Going forward I’d prefer…
  • Just a friendly reminder…
  • Please let me know if I’ve misunderstood.


The Worst Words to Describe a Perfect Candidate

What makes someone a perfect candidate for a job? According to survey respondents, none of the following descriptions made a positive impression. They comprised the list of the worst terms used to describe an ideal candidate for a job.

  • All-star
  • Badass 
  • Change agent
  • Creative
  • Experimenter
  • Headliner
  • Innovator
  • Inventor
  • Ninja
  • Rockstar
  • Sherpa 
  • Superstar
  • Thought leader


The Bottom Line

There are of course exceptions to every rule. Some of these terms can work, when used appropriately for the tone and context in which you’re writing. What’s most important is to review all your business writing carefully to make sure it flows smoothly and there are no grammatical errors or typos.

Hint: Editorr and Grammarly are terrific tools for copyediting and proofreading to make sure everything you send isword-perfect.

Also be sure your letters and emails are well-written and properly formatted so you make the best impression on everyone who is reading what you write.

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  • August 20, 2022