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Perception IS Reality

By Ryan Sauers

About Ryan

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at

Overused Expressions: Please Go Away!


Welcome to the third installment of my weekly blog post. Thanks for all the comments. How is this topic for a blog? So, maybe you are thinking, where is Sauers going this time? Well, hang in there as I focus on common expressions that many of us say. My argument is that these expressions need to “take a hike.” If you have others to add to the list...please add them under the Comments section. Let’s get to them...

  1. Giving 110%: OK, I am not sure who came up with this one or why. I have always found—and mathematics backs me up—that all individuals and/or organizations can offer is 100%. Anything above this is not possible.
  2. It is what it is! Really? Is this the best we can come up with? Maybe we can get former President Clinton to expand on this expression with his definition of “is.” Come on—we can do better.
  3. Comparing apples to apples: Oh, yes, one of my favorite expressions from my days in printing sales. I wonder if there is a correlation between people who purchase things and how much they enjoy fruit? Yes, another expression that needs to go.
  4. Think outside the box: Uhhhh! If I hear this one more time I am going to lose it. For years now, I have been saying break, smash and shatter the box. Please, I beg you, ditch and avoid using the words “think, outside and box” in the same sentence.
  5. Win/win: OK, I think Covey has some great ideas too. Win/win, win/lose, lose/win, lose/lose, etc. But, can we agree to quit using this “win/win” one all the time? Instead let’s be creative and put our own spin on this phrase.
  6. Drop the ball: I love sports and it is true that many balls are dropped in sports. However, this term is thrown around (no pun intended) too often in business and we need to come up with something unique.
  7. I am buried: Well, we are not really buried unless our time on earth has come to an end. So, why do we use such a bleak expression? Also, while we’re at it, please ditch I am slammed, drowning, covered up, snowed under, etc.
  8. Get our ducks in a row: OK, so you want to get your ducks in a row? Do you live near a pond? Do you collect ducks? I am not sure what ducks bring to the table of our decision-making.
  9. One-stop shopping: No kidding, if I had a dollar for each time a company told me this, I would probably not be blogging too many more times. In all seriousness, what does this expression even mean? It is so overused that it has become absolutely irrelevant and is truly not a point of differentiation.
  10. Low-hanging fruit: OK, now this common expression makes me think that we must all be quite talented as farmhands. Maybe we can milk the cows and then plow the field while we are grabbing the fruit.

My objective in this blog post is to challenge the status quo and make us think in new ways. Think about these overused expressions and how you can add your own creative approach to them. As noted above, I would love to hear from you. 

So, until next time, remember there are always ways to stand out from your competition. The best way is to offer one-stop shopping. And, while you are at it, be sure to give 110% and think outside the box each day. Always address the low-hanging fruit first and stop when you are buried. If someone drops the ball seek to find a win/win scenario. To keep your costs down, continue to compare apples to apples and, if you are wrong...oh is what it is. You get the idea. Good luck!

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