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"With all due respect" is a great one, because usually whatever is said immediately after that phrase is uttered is NOT respectful! That's on the same level as "No offense, but . . . . "

Steve Roesler


Ah, a pithy insight! Like you, I take it as a "signal" that something undesirable is about to follow.

We should start deliberately keeping score and see how many of these actual do/don't fall into the "due respect" category.

Thanks for starting up the conversation. . .

Becky Robinson

Oh, no! I just started an email with the word absolutely. I do agree with all the others, but it is so easy to slip into saying them, sometimes 24/7.

Joe Raasch

Hi Steve,

I have a few that grind me: "in terms of" , "granular" , "calendarize" and "net-net".


One that should never be erased? "Thank you."



Steve Roesler

Absolutely, Becky.

Steve Roesler


Each one of those makes me tune out the speaker. I have never heard "calendarize" which would no doubt cause me to criminalize my response.

Thanks for the additions. . .

Chris Witt


"To make a long story short" is the phrase that irritates me, mostly because the people who use it NEVER make their stories shorter. They're just pausing to catch their breath so they can launch off on an even longer recital.


Recent blog post: Memorizing a Speech, Part III

Steve Roesler


Oh, so true. Similar to "Let me just say briefly. . ." :-)

peter vajda

There needs to be hospitals and rehab centers where the old tired words, phrases and epithets can be sent for some much needed R&R.

The bandwagon is already next to overflowing with the "green shoot" and "new normal" folks...many of whom probably are critcal of others for using many of the old, tired and worn-out terms and phrases. Go figure.

Steve Roesler


I must be,uh, "out of the loop." Haven't heard "green shoot" yet but when I first heard "new normal" yesterday all I could think of was "Here we go again."

Perhaps a funeral parlor would be more appropriate than a rehab center.

peter vajda

yes, Steve, and then a graveyard

Steve Roesler

Clearly, these phrases cause more than a bit of angst.


I'll always use "it's no rocket science" to describe customers the difficulty of doing their search engine optimization themselves. I like this expression a lot.

Steve Roesler

Hi, Tobias,

Well, SEO is not rocket science; but it probably feels that way to them until they get your help!


Fantastic post Steve, keep up the excellent work!

David Hinde | Orgtopia

Great post Steve. Here's some of my "favourites"

"early doors" - what on earth does that mean - how can a door be early?
"thinking outside the box" - yep, this cliche of cliches actually made an unwelcome return in a meeting I attended recently!
"let's get our ideas ALIGNED" - I have a client who's always "aligning" everyones thoughts with everyone elses
My partner berated me the other week for using the word "functional" far too much in inappropriate situations. I guess that's what many years in the IT world does to you!

Steve Roesler


OK, you knocked me out with the lead-off "early doors". I'm still sitting here trying to figure that one out. You could always drop the hint that the phrase just isn't "functional". My bet: your partner will then leave you alone:-)

Thanks for the additions. Look for them in a future "Best of" post...

Keep writing.


I thought "with all due respect" were just the magic words that saved you from contempt in court...

Steve Roesler


Come to think of it with all due respect, I think you are dead on.

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