<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=349935452247528&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

The Most Annoying Business Clichés: Which One Annoy You The Most?

Apr. 29, 2013 | Posted by The Alternative Board
bigstock-207226681

From Ducks and Legs Up to Benchmarks and Best Worlds

Have you seen the La Quinta commercials, where the business person stays at the hotel & nails the business cliché the next day? Those are great. I love the one where the narrator says "Here's a clue. He's selling ice…" and the Eskimo cuts him off ("They don't need a clue"). Very funny & effective.

Want additional insight? Download Easy Ways to Improve Your Company Culture

DOWNLOAD

I spent years in Big 5 consulting. So I've heard "at the end of the day," "thinking outside the box" and "low-hanging fruit" enough times to last a lifetime. Some of the common business clichés made no sense to me. So I decided to do some research into the origins of some of the more common clichés:

  • Do you have your ducks in a row? The best explanation for this seems to be from the world of duckpin bowling: the more squat pins which were popular before modern bowling. Prior to modern reset machines, the duckpins had to be manually put in a row. This metaphor therefore refers to being organized and having everything in its place.
  • I hope that at least once in the last month, you've pulled out all the stops. This cliché seems to have come from the world of pipe organs, which have stops to control the airflow through the pipes. Pulling out a stop refers to no control of the pipe and therefore maximum volume.
  • Surely you have a leg up on the competition, which derives from the world of sports as well. Helping an equestrian onto a horse involves giving them a leg up. Maybe this doesn't create the greatest advantage initially but at least it positions the rider to compete.
  • Getting the best of both worlds - or satisfying multiple conflicting if not impossible demands - comes from literature. The earliest reference comes from Voltaire in Candide, who rejected his mentor's optimism and concluded, "... if this is the best of possible worlds, what then are the others?"
  • Taking on a new project involves hitting the ground running.  From the Boston Globe:  "The earliest literal use cited in the Oxford English Dictionary comes from an 1895 story published in several US newspapers. In one fantastic episode, the narrator outruns an assailant with a six-gun: "I knew he had five more cartridges, so I hit the ground running and squatted low down when his gun barked a second time."
  • All businesses measure themselves and their improvements using benchmarks. Originally benchmarking referred to the mark a surveyor establishes to use as a point of reference. It also refers to a carpenter using the surface of the workbench as a unit of measure.
  • Finally, we frequently take things with a grain of salt. This means we'll accept them but with a healthy degree of detachment or skepticism. According to English for Students, this goes back to Roman antiquity. Pliny the Elder, the ancient author & natural philosopher, translated an ancient antidote for poison with the words 'be taken fasting, plus a grain of salt'. The idea comes from the fact that food is more easily consumed if taken with a small amount of salt.

Those are just a few of my favorites. Which ones annoy you the most?

photo credit: John-Morgan via photopin cc

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board

Related posts

Dealing with Grief in the Workplace
Nov. 24, 2020 | Posted by Jodie Shaw
  One of the most difficult things a leader will have to deal with in the workplace is the death of an employee. Whether the result of ongoing health complications or a tragic accident, a death in...
15 No-Cost Ways to Improve Customer Service
Nov. 20, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
In today's experience economy, businesses need to think of new ways to connect with customers and secure their loyalty. Customers expect not just products and services anymore; they expect elevated,...
Effective Customer Case Studies Can Boost Sales
Nov. 5, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
What do you normally do when contemplating a major purchase? Like most people, you probably make an effort to see and hear what others have to say about the company you plan to buy from, as well as...
3 Ways to Make Your Business Agile
Oct. 27, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
Whether your business has been positively or negatively affected by the impact of the pandemic, it has been impacted, and your business is not the same as it was in early March. Hopefully during the...
Email Marketing in the Age of COVID-19
Oct. 22, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
In spite of all the changes rocking the business landscape, experts agree that email marketing remains a consistently effective way of reaching customers. In part, this is because companies can...
Tips on Customer Retention Marketing
Oct. 15, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
All businesses strive to acquire as many new customers as possible, but is enough effort being made to retain customers already on board? Remember, there’s a significant distinction in costs between...
How to Adapt Your Business to Social Distancing
Oct. 12, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
The business landscape has changed significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. More changes are undoubtedly coming, with one in particular certain to affect retail businesses in a big way.
How to Prepare Your Clients for a Price Increase
Sep. 3, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Every business must, at one point or another, share what’s viewed by customers as “unwelcome” news—the need for a price increase for products or services. Some businesses simply set the wheels in...
How TAB Helped A Member Grow During COVID-19
Sep. 1, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have struggled to survive. But for some, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to thrive. Garden Connections is one of those businesses. ...
8 Productivity Hacks for Busy Business Owners
Aug. 13, 2020 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Owning your own business can be a time-consuming undertaking. And despite many of us wishing for more hours in the day, time is finite. Everything we choose to spend time on comes at the expense of...