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How Annoying!


When commercial deals collapse it’s often through lack of trust. We all know from our own experience that it’s much easier (and quicker) to destroy trust than to create it. Some people however seem to be able to generate friction, irritation, tension and ultimately mistrust without even knowing that they’re doing it! At times, it just can be the words they use.


In a 2021 survey (MyPerfectResume’s survey) over 1,000 professionals were asked to identify the most annoying business buzzwords. From the most annoying downwards, they are as follows:


1. I'll ping you—59%

2. Think outside the box—56%

3. Low-hanging fruit—54%

4. Reinvent the wheel—53%

5. With you every step of the way – 52%

(If you have any other favourites, please send them our way)


Now if you’re a regular user of one or more of these phrases, you might want to reflect on the implication of this – using just one of them is likely to annoy, potentially switching the focus from your insightful comment and advice to ‘when was the last time I heard that grating phrase?’


One important aspect of the trust creation process is the skilful application of ‘empathy’. Really understanding people (and demonstrating that you do) helps to address those, as-yet-unknown, issues, worries and concerns that need to be dealt with if commercial conflict is to be successfully resolved. Using appropriate, tailored questions such as ‘Tell me more about the opportunities...’, What are the challenges?’, ‘Which are your highest priorities?’. If you can then listen carefully to the answers (without interrupting) and summarise using your own interpretation back – we promote ourselves as interested, intuitive and intelligent!


So, the next time you’re tempted to say, “I’ll ping you next week when we can chat about how we think outside the box and grab the low hanging fruit without having to “

reinvent the wheel – think again! Rather than wheeling out tired old clichés that demonstrates laziness/not listening/little understanding – try and ask more proactive and appropriate questions and reflect the answers back – you might be surprised at what else you learn.


Sam Macbeth 17th August 2021

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