Let’s Resolve to Speak Clearly
Have you noticed how everyday speech and even carefully prepared formal presentations have become filled with useless and meaningless words?  You know the ones, spoken as “fillers”, “place-holders”, or used for the sole purpose of making the user sound more intelligent, wise, and worldly?  Just listen to any local nightly television newscast and you’ll be treated to a smorgasbord of trite and mind-numbing business jargon.  In fact, I dare you to count the number of times you hear my all-time least favorite phrase…“going forward.”  You’ll probably be surprised at how often those grossly overused words get attached to the beginnings and tail ends of sentences.
So, my New Year’s resolution for 2015 is to purge my vocabulary of these inane and mostly worthless words and phrases.  Care to join me?  If so, and to help you get started, I’ve listed my personal top 5 most offensive business jargon phrases.  Each entry is then used in a sentence to provide the necessary context.  I’ve even gone so far as to provide alternate language to help you break the habit.  And before you know it, you’ll be speaking with clarity and precision…”going forward!”  Did you catch that one?  Good, then let’s proceed.   
#1 – “With all due respect” – Uh-oh, look out for this one, because what follows usually isn’t nice or respectful at all. 
Used in a sentence – “With all due respect President Jeff, it’s been painful to watch you at the podium for the last six months.”
Alternate (more precise) language – “President Jeff, you stink as President!”
#2 – “Let’s Circle Back”
Used in a sentence – “Thanks for the landscape design estimate Jim (Mason).  Let’s circle back after I’ve had time to review the plan in greater detail.”
Alternate (more precise) language – “Hey Jim, I’ll get back to you after I win the lottery.”
#3 – “Open the Kimono”
Used in a sentence – “I should have asked the taxi driver to open the kimono before simply telling him to get me to the airport by his favorite route.”
Alternate (more precise) language – “What’s this gonna cost me Jack!”
#4 – “The Long Pole in the Tent”
Used in a sentence – “The Brag Bucket is a long-standing tradition with the Rotary Club of Ames but we don’t feature it as often as we should because Reno (Berg) has become the proverbial long pole in the tent.”
Alternate (more precise) language – “If Reno would quit gallivanting around the country, we would do the Brag Bucket more often.  You’re holding things up Reno!”
#5 – “Low-hanging Fruit”
Used in a sentence – So Tanya (Anderson), when you become President in July, you’re going to have quite the mess to clean up.  But it is what it is (bonus worthless phrase).  My advice would be to go after the low-hanging fruit first, but you won’t have time to boil the ocean (another bonus).
Alternate (more precise) language – “Job one…get Karin Sevde to like you!”
I trust these helpful suggestions will help you become a better communicator…because, at the end of the day it’s a no-brainer!
Happy New Year!
Jeff Iles, President
Rotary Club of Ames