The 20 most hated office clichés in financial services

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With summer coming around the corner, we thought we’d update our list of the most reviled clichés in all of financial services – the empty phrases your colleagues and bosses utter on a daily basis that make your skin crawl.

We talked to a group of bankers, traders, consultants and other financial pros to freshen up the list. We also included a few that you left in the comments from a previous posting. Some are very industry-specific, others are more general clichés that are likely uttered in most any business meeting. Did we miss any? Which ones are you addicted to using?

Action items: Essentially just a list of things that need to get done.

Circle back: To re-evaluate something or give it a second look. You can also circle back – or re-connect – with a person to solve an issue. “Let me circle back with Bob and I’ll let you know.”

Hard stop: One that’s oft-used in journalism as well. It means you have to stop a meeting at a specific time as you have another appointment that you can’t move or be late to. “I have a hard stop at 11 a.m.”

Best practices: A seemingly formal, informal way of telling you that didn’t do something correctly. Common in investment banking. You didn't follow "best practices."

You're only as good as your last trade: Self-explanatory but uttered every day according to one sell-side trader.

Bandwidth: One you alerted us to last time. Having “bandwidth” means you have the knowledge to go into greater detail on something. You can also “provide” bandwidth.

Over the wall: You are in the know. You have information that others don’t.

Dead cat bounce: Used to discuss a particular asset. It is a recovery - usually short - in the price of stock/commodity/etc. after a massive decline. It comes from the idea that something has fallen so far that even a dead cat would bounce.

Parking lot: To put an end to a conversation with the idea of coming back to it later. “Let’s put that in a parking lot and move on.” Giving an idea “some air,” or time to resonate, is similar.

Scrimmage it: Also common in investment banking. Similar to another cliché: to “hash something out.”

Dig out: To get through all your backlog of work. “Let me dig out and I’ll come see you in an hour.”

Deep dive: Giving a thorough analysis.

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered: Don’t be overly greedy, lest you get the chop. Sort of an anti-Gordon Gekko.

Touch base: To make contact or catch up. “Let’s touch base later today.”

Give me a buzz: “Call me.”

Ping: Similar to a buzz, except it doesn’t have to be a phone call. You can “ping” someone through any means of contact.

Ready, fire, aim: The idea of being aggressive and moving quickly without over-thinking. Some eggs will likely get broken, to explain one cliché with another.

Get alignment: To get everyone on the same page.

30,000 foot view: The abridged version of an issue. You don’t want every detail, but just a general idea of what’s happening.

This is a perishable: Another one left by a commenter. It means that something is time sensitive.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: btuttle@efinancialcareers.com

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