Maybe I’m just getting old, or maybe I’m just nitpicking, but it seems to me the new millennium has seen the twisting or overuse of certain words and phrases. It’s almost as if these new meanings have crept into our collective vocabulary without most of us even knowing it. No matter. They need to die, and I know you can’t kill words or phrases, but c’mon, do we really need to use the following half dozen as often as we do? Here they are, in no particular order.
Team….Back in the day, team usually meant sports team, you know, the Yankees, the Knicks. These days, team can mean almost any group of people that either work together or are in close proximity to each other. I realized this the first time I was in a supermarket and heard an announcement saying “Attention Team Members”. Attention management! Just because people work together doesn’t mean they’re a team. They may not even like each other! How about “Attention Hard Workers”? Calling a group a team doesn’t create the cohesion necessary to form a real team. That actually takes work.
Moving Forward….What exactly is meant by this? Is it simply a catchphrase, allowing people that nanosecond necessary to say something coherent? I mean, do people ever really move backward? It’s a phrase without substance, nuance, or cohesion. How about we drop it like third period French?
“So” to start a sentence. Like many of these millenialisms, it’s hard to pinpoint when it started. Yet time after time, I hear people, most of them young, start a sentence with the word “so”. Why is anybody’s guess, but it’s become as ubiquitous as ending a sentence with the word “yo”. Wait a minute. Is yo even a word? Anyway, I’m just far more used to hearing “so” used in the middle of a sentence rather than at the beginning. Can we agree to stop doing this, the sooner the better?
At the End of the Day. I’ve actually heard people use this phrase three times in two minutes. It, like some of the others, seems to be a placeholder, a term you use when you’ve run out of things to say. Ever hear anyone say At the Beginning of the Day? Didn’t think so. There are actually other phrases that can be used when you’re building a bridge to a conclusion. How about trying “When all is said and done”. The key, though, is to use it sparingly, not as a rhetorical crutch.
Thought Leader. Can anyone seriously say they hard of this before the dawn of the 21st Century? Thought Leader? The first time I heard it, I thought to myself, what they hell is this? A leader of thoughts? Someone so profound that their thinking will lead others to follow like sheep? I can see it now. Sometime in the future, colleges and universities will issue a Bachelor of Thought Leadership. Our great grandkids, when asked what they want to be when they group up will answer, I want to be a thought leader! If we go back in history, there are literally hundreds of men and women who were brilliant thinkers. These are people who had a profound impact on the lives of people in this country and throughout the world. Yet none of them were ever described as thought leaders. Wonder why?