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These are the 40 most cringe-worthy phrases you’re probably using in the office

Do you tell your employees to “give it 110 percent?”  Please … don’t.

That phrase, according to a survey by OnePoll of 2,000 American workers on behalf of communications technology provider Jive Communications, topped a list of 40 of the most cringe-worthy phrases said in the workplace. So if you’re thinking of using that phrase to motivate, please think twice.

While you’re at it, don’t exhort your employees to “think outside the box,” “hammer it out” or do some “heavy lifting.” That’s going to annoy them, too. If you want to really get under their skin then go ahead and tell them to “push the envelope,” or promise to “circle back” or create a “win-win situation.”

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“We’ve all been guilty of using these phrases, whether out of habit or not,” John Pope, the senior vice president of Jive Communications, said in a Fox News article. “These phrases definitely aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

Pope, who confirmed the survey’s data, said he believes that the overuse of these phrases has diluted their meaning. “Our goal should be to use such jargon sparingly, and when the moment calls for it,” he said.

Although we’ve all been there, the fact is that using these phrases with employees can harm a company’s productivity. According to the survey, 27 percent of American workers acknowledged tuning out people who use this kind of jargon, even though almost 72 percent admitted to habitually using these phrases.

So, are you at fault? Tsk, tsk. Just to be sure, here’s the entire list, in order of cringe-worthiness:

  1. Give 110 percent
  2. Think outside the box
  3. Hammer it out
  4. Heavy lifting
  5. Throw them under the bus
  6. Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched
  7. Pushing the envelope
  8. Let the cat out of the bag
  9. Let’s circle back
  10. Win-win situation
  11. Blue-sky thinking
  12. Boil the ocean
  13. Synergy
  14. Low-hanging fruit
  15. Take it to the next level
  16. Barking up the wrong tree
  17. Going forward
  18. Let’s ballpark this
  19. Run this up the flagpole
  20. Back to square one
  21. There’s no I in team
  22. Back to the drawing board
  23. Paradigm shift
  24. Elephant in the room
  25. Raise the bar
  26. Drill down
  27. Best thing since sliced bread
  28. Deep dive
  29. Skin in the game
  30. Reach out
  31. Touch base
  32. Play hardball
  33. Don’t reinvent the wheel
  34. Kept in the loop
  35. The bottom line
  36. Down the road
  37. I’ll loop you in
  38. Hit the nail on the head
  39. ASAP
  40. Team player