Business Clichés – Part Three

Business ClichésHopefully, you’ve enjoyed the first two parts of this series. Before we ‘over-mine this rich vein’ of business clichés… in the final part (for now!) of this series, we’ll look at a couple more phrases. You’ve probably used these phrases yourself, and who hasn’t, but where did they come from, what do they mean and are they still relevant today?

State-of-the-Art

State-of-the-art is commonly used to describe technology or facilities. It implies that these things are the best, or newest available – unequalled in the current world.

Where Did This Phrase Come From?

This phrase dates back to around 1910. The earliest documented use is found in an engineering manual by Henry Harrison Suplee. He states,

In the present state-of-the-art this is all that can be done.”

‘The art’ referred to is likely to be manufacturing and craftsmanship of the time, as opposed to performing or fine arts.

Is State-of-the-Art Still Relevant in Today’s Business World?

Using state-of-the-art to describe our technology or facilities is, frankly, not going to impress anyone anymore. With the phrase used by just about every organisation in the world to describe their attributes, although it still implies some level of quality and modern methods, it lacks the punch it initially delivered many years ago.

Hit the Ground Running

The use of this phrase in business normally refers to starting a task or project at a fast-pace, informed and ready for any developments that may occur.

When we’re told we have to hit the ground running, we know we have to get on with the task-in-hand, quickly and effectively.

Where Did This Phrase Come From?

The literal use of this phrase was seen towards the end of the 19th Century. It’s thought to have originated in the US and was used to describe things like soldiers being deployed by parachute or dancers hitting the boards after a jump.

One of the earliest documented, non-literal uses of the phrase can be found in The Hayward Daily Review, 1940. It reported:

It sometimes seems to me that the young idea nowadays is to hit the ground running and to tell the old editors how to run things.”

Is ‘Hit the Ground Running’ Still Relevant in Today’s Business World?

Although this phrase is widely used, it doesn’t seem to cause as much irritation as other clichés we’ve looked at.

It certainly gets the point across concerning how someone is expected to act in a new situation. Hit the ground running, although, without doubt, a cliché, still conveys its message – without causing too much eye-rolling or ‘switch-off’ from the audience.

In Summary, Business Clichés – Yay or Nay?

So, the elephant in the room (sorry, couldn’t resist) seems to be that commonly used business clichés lose their impact as we become over-familiar with them.

In short, if using a business cliché helps you quickly to convey a common meaning, and why not? However, our language is evolving every day. Why not be creative with words and come up with your own phrases to motivate, inspire and encourage staff? If nothing else, it’s almost guaranteed to get their attention!

Which business clichés do you find yourself using again and again at work? Which business clichés works for you and which ones are guaranteed to put your teeth on edge? If there are any you’d like us to investigate, just say the word.

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