Taking the Language of Business to the Next Level

In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Jane Von Bergen has one of those tight, revealing stories about the world of work that will make you smile and you sad. Probably, it will come as no surprise. It’s about the prevalence of cliches in U.S. business writing, and in how business people talk about their work, their companies and their performance.

Von Bergen was working off a press release from Factiva, and her story speaks for itself. But Factiva’s analysis needs to be taken to the next level, because although everyone keeps saying that the rules are changing (Factiva’s own home page today cries that “the rules are changing”), the language of business isn’t changing with near the vividness of work itself.

Here are some cliches Factiva missed, and their prevalence in U.S. media in the first half of 2006:

  • “will come as no surprise” – 565 uses
  • “taking it to the next level / take it to the next level” – 1,340 uses
  • “the rules are changing” – 254 uses
  • Post the cliche that sets your teeth on edge in comments below.