Words To Never Use: Expert Strength Edition

From strength to strength – I assume this means to turn something robust into something fractionally more robust? Robuster.

Astonishing – There are astonishingly few reasons to use this word. Think about it. Are you not astonished at how amazing my observations are?

New normal – I prefer ‘old abnormal’. In that, everything old is new again. Hmmm… I hope this blurb isn’t indicative of how things turn out.

Touch base – Unless you’re trying to get to 2nd base on the 1st date, avoid the literal use of this term. Oh and hey girl, how you doing?

Agile – When you use this in the context of describing a large organization, I suggest you reevaluate your understanding of how a large organization works. What’s the opposite of agile? Lumbering? Glacial?

Slacktivism – Please like this post on Facebook to save the whales.  Or whatever.

Manspreading – Seriously, the boys need to breathe. However, no one needs to talk about it, so stop spreading the news.

Selfie stick – Banned from the Smithsonian! Excellent. Even more reason to like museums.

Burning platform – Is it for motivating people to jump higher in a crisis, or just an agile metaphor on the new normal? I’ll touch base with you when I find out. (P.S. I won’t.)

Cascading – This could be my favorite word. Ever. Cascading communication to staff via line management is the most efficient means to reach everyone. It moves from strength to strength, is burning, unslackerish and is both the new and the old normal. Now allow me introduce you to a cool word, ‘sarcasm’, and then bid you adieu.

Al desko – This means eating lunch at your desk. I’ll give whomever coined this phrase points for trying, but if I hear anyone using it, I’ll cascade a few slaps to your bases (I mean, faces).

I am not an expert but… – No kidding. But I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night, so everything I’ve written here can only be construed as pure gold.

Enjoy previous posts in the seriously world-class and impactful ‘Words To Never Use’ series. Patent not pending. All rights reserved, except if drinking a pint. Please consult your neighborhood pub before maturing your pain points.


Words To Never Use: Co-creating the Obfuscation Edition

Most of the words in our workplace are boring. So we borrow, reuse and invent new ones to amuse ourselves.

We try to make our work sound more important than it really is. All we end up with is obfuscation.

Co-creation – You create something by yourself. You writers and painters and developers and creative people. Then you get feedback and input that either dumbs it down or turns it into something no longer interesting. Co-creation = obfuscation. Don’t be a co-creationist.

Passion – The meaning is clear. Use only for it’s intended purpose. ‘She’s passionate about Twitter.’ Meh. ‘His passion for taking selfies is unmatched.’ No way. ‘He has a passion for writing.’ Better. ‘The young lover’s fiery, unquenchable passion for each other was palpable.’ Good. Also, sorry for injecting this post with YA romance.

Go pear-shaped – The shape of a pear is natural. Something you screwed up? Also natural. And typical you. Just don’t blame the pear.

World-class – The biggest humble brag any organization can say about itself. And many do. Classy.

Farm-to-table – As opposed to ‘Hydroponics room-to-table’? ‘Test tube-to-table’? I hope you washed the pears before you put them on my table.

Curate – As in curate content for social media. Sounds exciting. It’s not. Curating paintings and artifacts for a museum? Somewhat exciting. Curating lost treasure from the bottomless fathoms of the sea? Damn exciting.

Landscaping – If your garden or lawn needs work, landscape it. If your work needs review and analysis, tend to it.

Manscaping – Visualize the implications of this word. You are welcome.

Adorbs – No. If you are too lazy to write actual words like ‘adorable’, please stop writing. Thx! Xs & Os!

To ballpark (something) – Use ‘estimate’ already! You play the great game of baseball in a ballpark. Don’t sully this word.

Game changer – Anything you call a ‘game changer’ is an exaggeration. The games have already been changed. Just start playing. Start with baseball.

Future proof – The future is immune to your proofing. Even futurists get it wrong. I predict.

Pain points – My pain point is that I have to write these world-class, game changing lists. I ballpark that I can curate a few more. The English language is ever ripe for abuse. And I am passionate about landscaping the pear-shapedness of how obfuscated this co-creationism has become.

You are adorbs!


Words To Never Use: Open the Kimono Edition

Lifehack – Ugh! Just repeat after me: ‘I will do better. I will be better’. You are not a hacker. You are not a computer. Or are you? Calculating…

A picture is worth a thousand words – What could be wrong with this? It’s not accurate, that’s what. Anyone and everyone can take a thousand pictures a minute. Trust me, 99% of those are not worth two words. A picture with the right mix of words is best to tell a story. But! I would rather read a brilliant novel over perusing a coffee table book of brilliant photos. I like the words. It doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy both, just that I prefer to read. And yes, even a thousand words at a time. (Pro tip: This post is only 406 words. And one photo worth 594 words.)

Can’t have your cake and eat it too – If I have cake, I’m going to eat it. Dumbest phrase ever.

Open the kimono – Unless you’re a geisha entertaining in Kyoto, please keep your kimono in toto! I don’t want to see it.

Pipeline – Are you drilling for oil? Are you building a sewer system? No, you are not. Put not using this word in your pipe and smoke it.

Maturing – As long as you are a bank loan or a young person, this is your word. If you are describing a process, like ‘maturing the roadmap’, this is not your word.

Roadmap – When I’m driving in a car, this is a beautiful thing. When you’re describing ‘next steps’ or a ‘business plan’, be warned. I’m in a car, heading right for you. Fast.

No offense, but… – Okay, I get it. You want to insult me without the consequence of guilt. Very mature.

Justin Bieber – No offense, but I trust this will be the last time his name appears on the interwebs.

Ninja move – IF you are a ninja, you are awesome. Everyone else, your moves do not compare. Including Mick Jagger.

Engagement – A catch-all word for activities we can’t be bothered to describe.

  • ‘Engage’ her. = Talk at her.
  • ‘Engage’ them. = Pretend to get their opinion.
  • ‘Engage’ our stakeholders. = Send them an email they won’t read.
  • ‘Engagement’ strategy = Just a communications plan.
  • ‘Engagement’ tools = Just a website.
  • ‘Engage!’ = Go to warp speed! (Jean Luc Picard’s catchphrase and the best use of the term.)

Fundraising revenue generation goal achievement – Words have never said less. Top that and you get cake.

I ate this.
I ate this.




Related posts:

  1. Words to Never Use
  2. Words to Never Use: The Swoop and Poop Edition

Words To Never Use: Swoop and Poop Edition

Okay, okay. I actually DO like ‘swoop and poop’*. The more you use it, the better friends we will be.

But these words here, stay away from.

Secret sauce – What you’re doing isn’t that saucy. And most people have probably done it before, so it’s no secret. Only use this for food. Specifically Big Macs.

Optimizing – Say ‘make the best use of’. It’s more words, but it’s also easier on the brain.

Impactful** – This is not full of impact. It sounds like what happens to my molars when I don’t floss.

Polar Vortex# – Granted this does sound cool, but there is no reason to describe 7° Farenheit weather in any other way than DAMN FREEZING COLD!

Solutions – My #11 pet peeve ever is when businesses tell me they have solutions. Just tell me what you do! You assume I am full of problems. (Well, don’t answer that.)

Best practice – Unless you’re building an airplane or work for NASA, whatever you are doing is not the BEST possible practice. It’s a good one NOW. Later something better will come along. Just use ‘good practice’.

Have eyes on the ground – As Hall & Oates famously sang ‘Private eyes, they’re watching you, they see your every move.’ And keep your eyes in their sockets.

Made redundant – Hogwash. It’s ‘laid off’.

Value proposition – The bastardization of ‘Mission statement’, which is a bastardization of ‘What do I offer?’ My proposition is to avoid being valuable, hence I write this blog.

Bastardize – The best practice when optimizing the use of this word for impactful solutions, is to quit while you’re ahead. Don’t let them have eyes on your secret sauce and expose your value proposition.

Selfie – Considered the word of 2013. What a tragic year.

Enterprise – Unless you are Captain Jean-Luc Picard or work for the car rental company, stop using this word to describe your company! Especially egregious…enterprise solutions.

Level-set – I never bothered to learn what this means. I hope you and I are on the same page in this enterprise.


* Swoop and poop – What it’s supposed to mean: ‘When a senior person in an organization, someone who was too busy to get involved with a project as it developed, appears in the final hours and craps all over everything‘. What I actually think it means: ‘When the Seattle Seahawks swoop in and poop all over the Denver Broncos vaunted #1 offensive and all the pundits’ predictions of Peyton Manning glory‘. Go Seahawks!

** Thanks Tianna, this word WAS impactful, it made this list!

# Dear people in Northern US states, Canada and the North pole: Snide remarks aside, we know you deal with colder weather on a regular basis. That is your choice, however. You live there!


Read previous editions:

Words To Never Use

Words To Never Use

Learnings – Learning is not plural, people! If you learns nothing else, learns that!

Meetings – Only masochists like saying this word.

Twerking – Just say ‘shake your ass provocatively’. Or better yet, don’t say anything. And don’t do it.

Hilarious – If you have to utter ‘That’s hilarious’, it’s not. If it’s funny, laugh.

Deliverables – Just say ‘output’ or ‘content’ or anything. My yearly deliverable is to stop these syllables from leaving your tongue.

Literally – I literally just jumped out of my seat, shaking my fist, to tell you this is the most pointless word ever. And no one uses it correctly. P.S. I literally did not just jump out of my seat. I’m too lazy for that.

LOL – Is this a word or a phrase? Either way, stop laughing at me out loud! LOL

Robust – Unless you are talking about my biceps, avoid this robustly overused word.

Ridonkulous – The word to use is ‘ridiculous’, but it’s ridiculous how ridiculously over saturated our minds are with this literally robust sounding word.

Seriously – Seriously, are you serious? Stop. Seriously.

Flexible – Are you a gymnast? Do you manufacture rubber bands? No? You know what to do. Seriously.

Cray cray – This defines both this list and the disintegration of the English language. Not that I care.

Word to your mother.