Wikipedia defines a cliché as “an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.”
We are all guilty of using clichés and overusing certain pet phrases or expressions. How we communicate can even be cultural. We Canadians are well known for over usage of “sorry” and “eh”.
I’m sure you can think of the verbal pet peeves that really annoy you. Unfortunately it’s always easier to identify what others say that bothers you than hear your own.
Here are a few of the more irritating phrases you commonly hear:

  • At the end of the day
  • Par for the course
  • Think outside the box
  • You know
  • For sure
  • Peel back the onion
  • With all due respect
  • It’s not rocket science

Perhaps this list made you chuckle, or groan, or cringe because of what you hear when listening to others. I encourage you to become more aware of the various clichés and expressions that comprise the way you communicate. Do they improve your communication and add color, context and provide insight? If yes, keep using them strategically and wisely. Do they annoy others or make you look like someone who has no original ideas and can only repeat, or even worse, overuse current jargon? If yes, stop using them.
Your communication says a lot about you and impacts your personal brand and reputation. Remember to “think before you speak”.