Most annoying buzzword: ‘Touching base’ or ‘blue-sky thinking’?

Survey reveals ‘thought shower’ and ‘no-brainer’ among most grating office jargon

Heading to office to be surrounded by colleagues who “touch base” and indulge in some “blue-sky thinking”? If so, you could be living in one of the most grating of work environments, according to a new survey today.

The two phrases have been voted as the most grating, according to the survey by Glassdoor, the jobs website, though the competition is seemingly endless in a world where people like “to run things up the flag pole”.

Being asked to “touch base” to talk about a “game changer” so you can “pick it up and run with it” are among the most annoying office jargon, a study shows.

Research by jobs site Glassdoor revealed some of the ridiculous so-called buzzwords used by workers and managers.


Some people still talk about “blue sky thinking” or tell colleagues “we’re on a journey” to “run it up the flagpole” and “get our ducks in a row.”

One of the more bizarre phrases complained about in a survey of 2,000 workers was “if you don’t like it, get off the bus”.

David Whitby of Glassdoor said: "No-one wants to be the office jargon junkie, but who isn't guilty of using some of these buzzwords from time to time?

“Phrases like touch base and no-brainer have entered the common vernacular, but beware overusing jargon.”

For readers who avoid having to do anything with the corporate world, “touching base” means that one meets up with a colleague a subject - though, more properly, it comes from baseball where players must touch a base to remain in. Blue-sky thinking means imaginative thinking.

One egregious offender against the language of Yeats and Shakespeare, however, is “thought shower” - a phrase that emerged from the land of political correctness when “brainstorm” was thought to offend epileptics.

One less-familiar phrases for Irish readers, however, is to “punch a puppy”, which comes in at 11th on the list, where a worker “takes a hit for the team” by doing that benefits their employer, rather than them. People unprepared for such sacrifice can “get off the bus”.


Touch base: to catch up with a colleague on a subject

Blue-sky thinking: imaginative thinking

We’re on a journey: we’re not there, yet, folks

Game-changer: an idea that changes everything

No-brainer - the bleedingly obvious

Thought shower An alternative to brainstorm, or meeting to share ideas

Run it up the flagpole - to test out a new idea ]

If you don’t like it, get off the bus: like it, or leave

Mission statement - why are we here, written in the most obtuse fashion possible

Pick it up and run with it: to take over a fellow worker’s work share