Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s Feedback programme have been at it again – complaining about the words and phrases that most annoy them when used on the airwaves. Apart from the bete noir of starting answers with the word ‘So …’ (discussed previously), we present some of the phrases that anyone interviewed on radio or TV should avoid using if humanly possible. We try to gently pick up on these if they crop up during our media training practice interviews, but it’s easy to slip back into bad habits:
Going forward – irritating, and usually superfluous. Why not in the future, or over the next few months etc, or just ‘we now think’ (interest rates will rise more quickly than expected – etc)
Reaching out – what, physically? Twee Americanism, as in ‘we’re reaching out to customers ..’
Deep diving – snorkels ahoy! Surely ‘looking in more detail’
Granular – as above, minus the snorkels
A big ask. No longer witty or innovative. A big favour?
At this moment in time – is there any other kind of moment? Cut the unnecessary verbiage
Step up to the plate – Americanism, a baseball term therefore confusing to most Brits as it’s a game we barely play. Try ‘take action’ or ‘take responsibility’
Completely unique – tautology
From the get-go. What is a get-go?
Double down – most people have no idea what this means. If it’s ‘increase our exposure to this market’ or ‘intensify our efforts’ then say so
And finally … ‘We’re passionate about’ or ‘we’re excited about’ when it obviously sounds phoney, as in ‘we’re passionate about supply chain management …’ etc. Wait until you really have something likely to excite us, rather than just you!
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