Saying What You Mean

We’ve all heard those dreadful office clichés. We’re all probably guilty of saying them too, at one point or another (I know I am).

But why do we resort to these terms instead of saying what we mean? Are we trying to sound more intelligent? Or are we trying to mask our real intention? Or simply a bad habit picked up from an old boss or colleague?

The truth is that there is no real good reason to use them. I’m going to stop trying to sound more intelligent and accept that people don’t think that I am stupid. I’m going to stop trying to mask my intention – I’m going to try and say what I really mean.

Here’s a couple of examples of what I mean:

Let's take that offline.

That’s a great point but will take too long to discuss now. Can you and I discuss this separately after the meeting?

We need to manage the optics of this.

I think some people might be unhappy about this, so we need to think about how we tell them.

Low Hanging Fruit.

Simple and easy improvements that we can make relatively quickly.

Let’s hit the ground running.

Lets do some pre-work,make a simple plan and then stick to it.

Sing from the same Hymn Book.

I’d like everyone to understand what we are doing.

We need to right-size the operation.

We have more people than we need.

Next time I find myself about to spout a cliché, I’m going to try and say exactly what I mean instead.

What other examples can you think of where we don’t really say what we mean?


Cameron worked his way from call centre advisor to call centre manager. He was trained and further developed his Lean Six Sigma skills and has significant experience in delivering large scale Operational Excellence programmes across a range of sectors in the UK. Cameron has designed Lean Six Sigma courses for clients, including the development of online training portals. He is committed to helping people achieve real, tangible benefits in any sector by using their newly acquired Lean Six Sigma ...

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