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Hold the "New Paradigm"  To Advance Your Career 

"A new paradigm." "A 30,000 foot view." We often borrow clichés from military, political, or sports circles to express ourselves. While colorful at first, these expressions soon become trite and meaningless. Some clichés even convey the opposite of what you intended. To be an effective communicator, replace trite expressions with more precise, more meaningful, and less hackneyed language.

Here is how your audience interprets ten common clichés. 

What Do Ten Common Cliché's Actually Convey?

Clichés What Listener Thinks What Listener Concludes
"Work smarter, not harder" You think I haven't worked smart in the past

Disguised/Veiled criticism

"It just wasn't meant to be" Topic closed. It's up to me to find a solution Shifting the blame
"Just do it" "Failure is not an option" We don't intend to fail. How about some constructive advice Demonstrating control
"We want to hear from you" "We have an open door policy" Why don't you have a "contact us" link? Why is your door always closed? Uttering hollow words
"It's in the cloud" "It's a 4G solution" Do you know what you are talking about? Trying to impress
"We don't have enough boots on the ground" Would having more boots make a difference? What is the real problem? Making excuses with tough language
"We have to tear down internal silos" You have alienated other departments Covering up problems

What's Wrong with Clichés? Clichés are trite and imprecise, not hip. They signify an unimaginative, unimportant comment from people who don't know what they want to say. They are a convenient way to hide behind words. Consider how your audience will interpret your words.

Replace clichés with language that is more original and more direct. People judge you by what you say and do.

Crisp, clear language is a true differentiator in the business world.

Send an email to and include clichés that irritate you.


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Copyright © 3/13 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

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