Three of the most annoying phrases in business writing

30 November 2020

As we manage and adapt to the organisational challenges we have faced in 2020, it's often the little annoyances that make us boil over. Certain words and phrases begin to grate on us and distract us from the actual message.

Here are 3 frequently used phrases in business writing to avoid at all costs.

Thanks in advance

While your intention when signing off an email with the words ‘Thanks in advance’ might be to be polite, it’s likely your reader won’t interpret it that way. Similar to the phrase ‘With all due respect’, which signals you’re about to say something disrespectful, thanking someone in advance often accompanies an unwanted task.

Business etiquette experts consider the phrase demeaning and recommend avoiding it. The phrase offers no room for negotiation and doesn’t show respect for the recipient’s time. A more respectful alternative for someone you are working with on a project would be ‘Thank you for your help.’

Reach out

This new-age-sounding phrase is business jargon for ‘let’s set up a meeting’ or ‘let’s contact this person.’ Rather than lapse into an overused buzz phrase, your communication will be clearer and more professional if you say precisely how you want to make contact. For example, ‘If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.’

There is no need for a longwinded introduction such as ‘I am reaching out to let you know about [add details of your amazing product or service].’ Why not respect your reader’s time by getting to the point?

It is what it is

This loathsome phrase took on a whole new chilling meaning when President Donald Trump repeatedly shrugged off the tens of thousands of deaths in the United States from COVID-19 with the phrase 'It is what it is' in interviews discussing the pandemic and climate change. Don’t use this highly disrespectful phrase. Ever.

It's easy to fall into the habit of mimicking what you see in other written communications. No matter how official the document, don't assume that everything you read at work is well written. Keep up to date with the latest buzz phrases and replace them with professional alternatives.

Need help with your writing? To book your next online training program, contact Contact Concise Writing Consultancy on 02 9238 6638.

Find more annoying buzz phrases in these articles:

https://www.rd.com/list/annoying-phrases/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2012/01/26/the-most-annoying-pretentious-and-useless-business-jargon/?sh=43e471a82eea

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