Avoiding Cliches in Your Business Communications

To my friends,

My friend Ellen Reddick sent out a gem this morning which I am sharing with you with her permission. Enjoy.

You Are the Message

Weekly Newsletter

Clichés and why you should avoid them in all forms of communications.

When you envision a polished and successful professional you likely see a well-dressed, confident and determined person. The visual perfection and certainty they exude contributes

to our perception of an accomplished and high performance professional.


While a smooth appearance and a savvy manner can do much to set a person ahead of their peers, one fatal flaw can quickly deflate their lead and bring them back to earth. The blemish

protrudes from something in which we all have – a mouth. Our mouth can bring forth catchphrases which lean more towards clichés.

A cliché is a trite or stereotypical phrase or sentence expressing a common thought with a loss of originality and ingenuity. It’s also impacted by the fact that it’s overused.

When we use clichés we demonstrate our lack of ability to master our own language and express ourselves and make our audience understand our message.

How we make people feel is one of the most significant things we do when we communicate. We want people to listen to our message and value it. We want to differentiate

ourselves from the competition and be memorable.

If you can’t speak to inspire and connect with people, don’t speak at all. People will cease to listen to you when you use words everyone else is using.

Start with these simple clichés and then move on to the Encyclopedia of Business Clichés and work at removing clichés from your communications.

No Worries or No Problem – It sounds flippant In a casual setting, it may sound cool – but in a professional environment it sounds flippant and somewhat disrespectful.

It carries negativity Two words you may try to avoid in professional communications are:  problem and no.    So, even when you are trying to be reassuring, your words can convey negativity

and may remind the listener that problems were a possibilityIt is not a substitute for “you’re welcome” Saying “no problem” instead of “you’re welcome” has become commonplace – but

think about the difference between replying to someone saying “I am sorry” or someone saying “thank you.”    Maybe “no problem” is a fine response to “I am sorry,” but it is a poor response to –

thank you.


At the End Of the Day – At the end of the day – it’s simply evening time and nothing else. This overused cliché is basically saying when you consider everything this is the solution or product

which will fulfill your needs or solve your problem. Our presentation should strongly convey this message not a kitschy catchphrase.


Circle Back – You’re not circling back rather you’re doing what all quality professionals do and that’s follow-up.


Value Added – If our product or service is valuable it will stand on its own. There is a total package you’ll receive and there’s a total cost to acquire it. Our customer or prospect isn’t naïve. They

understand a salesperson has only so much leeway to include additional incentives. The reality is nothing is “thrown in,” it’s simply an aspect of what you’re allowed to offer to entice the prospect

to believe in the value you’re pitching.


The Customer is Always Right – Many believe this cliché came to life in 1908, coined by Department Store magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge. The reality is no one is always right, though this

one can give our prospect or customer an unlimited and dangerous license to increase their demands to an unreasonable level.


 Reach Out – Doesn’t tell your client anything. If you want to assure your client that you will contact then, tell them in plain and simple words. “I will call you.” “I will e-mail you the quote.”

Reach out sounds phony, trite and noncommittal.


 Push Out –  This has become a new one – “I will be pushing out the information this week.”  Don’t make action items confusing. Just say how you will accomplish a task. Words

have power. Words strung together in clichés have lost some or all of their power. Clichés are a sign of a tired mind that settles for a well-worn rut instead of climbing to exciting new heights.

Your job as a professional is to energize people, not put them to sleep with overused words, to speak so people understand and feel comfortable with what you say.


The Encyclopedia of Business Clichés



Quote of the Week

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a

thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.”

Steven Spielberg


 Ellen Reddick is a leading authority on Business Etiquette and Protocol, soft skills and process improvement. Her workshops, seminars, and  training sessions are powerful successful, unique.

Ellen has helped corporations, small business, and organizations across the  US develop a Professional Presence that creates confidence, style and success.

She is a certified mediator and facilitator.

Impact Factory, a Salt Lake City based company specializing in training, consulting, coaching, facilitation and process improvement; in business operations, professionalism, business etiquette, communications and soft skill development.