April 12, 2018

“Pick Your Brain” & Other Phrases I Never, Ever Want to Hear Again

This past week I had the great pleasure of being asked to speak by a longtime client-turned-friend. Our 10+ year friendship allowed us to move quickly through top-layer business and get right down to an issue rumbling around in the recesses of both our minds: the distress we feel about phrases involving bodily functions being used in business settings (or really, anywhere.)

What phrases were included? Below, a list that runs from startling to offensive (and I’m not kidding when I use “offensive”) culled from years of sitting through various meetings.
Pick your brain:

The ubiquitous nature of this phrase never makes it less upsetting. I would so much rather hear, “I’d love to hear your thoughts,” or  “I was wondering if I might ask for your opinion/expertise? ” In either case, I will gladly share – but I do not wish to have my brain picked.

No sweat:

“No sweat,’ like “no problem,” undermines any goodwill you might have engendered by doing something requiring a thank you, as few people want to spend time thinking about either sweat or problems. If you’ve done something worth being thanked for, I far prefer you respond, “You’re welcome.”

Brain fart:

Used when the person in question loses his or her train of thought, it appears to be the young people’s version of “senior moment.” From my perspective, it’s gross. I’d prefer to hear, “My apologies, I lost my train of thought.”

Core dump:

This technology term, used to describe the massive downloading of information, has now entered the business/social context. For example, “Wow, he did a core dump about his divorce when I talked to him at the office party.”  While descriptive, its scatological overtones are less than pleasant for the hearer.

Verbal diarrhea:

Used to describe someone with a tendency toward hyper-verbalization, I find this phrasing all too evocative of the condition, leaving me wanting to put a diaper on the mouth of the person using it.

“It will all come together like ass cheeks”:

It’s rare to find me at a loss for words, but this did. Used in a meeting to describe the seamless coming together of a number of disparate elements, its effect was to make me want to sever all communication immediately.

If, after all that, you have the stomach for additional words/phrases that give me the shivers you can find a few more here: “Redundancy Alert (Or One More Reason Why Adele’s Song, ‘Someone Like You’ Drives Me Mad)”

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