We all want to sound smart. And one shortcut, especially when we are office newbies, is using the same expressions our boss uses, or copying what we read in a manager’s email. Kind of like a verbal rent-a-suit, right?
But this shortcut works only if your boss avoids tired meaningless jargon. And many don’t. (They learned from their boss.) So lots of pompous “fluff” words get passed around the workplace word-pit until they become “The Official Language of Everyone Who Works Here.” But you know what else gets passed around an office? Norovirus, a.k.a., the stomach flu. And just like the flu, hackneyed verbal pathogens spread from the reception desk to the auditing department over to HR. The flu eventually leaves, but the fuzzwords never do, and you’re left to “circle back” or “reach out” until the next outbreak.
So today I’m going to try to inoculate you against one of those fuzzwords so that when you feel an infection coming on, you’ll be able to resist.
What not to say: “That being said,” (and all its cousins: “all that being said,” “that having been said,” “with that being said,” “having said that” etc.)
Why people say it: People generally use it to signal that what they are about to say is somewhat contradictory to what they just said.
“Now, this doesn’t mean that a new volcano might not form in Santiam/McKenzie Pass at some point in the future.
That being said, if there is any location in the continental United States that any real volcanophile should visit, it’s Santiam/McKenzie Pass area in Oregon.” From Wired Magazine http://tinyurl.com/huroxg3
Why you shouldn’t say it: First, it’s trendy, which means that using it can make you look like a poser who can’t think for yourself (see: “low hanging fruit”). Second, people sometimes confuse audiences by misusing it as “furthermore.”
“We want to give everyone a chance to give feedback for the session today. That being said, we’ll provide comment cards at your seat.”
Thirdly, it has a weird passive grammatical construction that makes it sound pompous and vague at the same time. And finally, It’s simply not needed.
What to say instead: It’s much simpler and more direct to signal a change in perspective with words like “However,” “Still,” or “Despite the …” Look at the following excerpts and see if they could be improved by one of these everyday words.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican who chairs the National Governor's Association, said gun safety was primarily a state issue. "We have different cultures and different politics," he said. "That being said, I certainly believe in background checks," Herbert said. "We want to make sure that the bad guys don’t have access to guns, but the good guys do." From USA Today http://tinyurl.com/ztgmzdy
“So while coffee may lead to a significant reduction of risk for liver damage, it won't necessarily treat any of the other negative side effects associated with heavy drinking. It's important to drink responsibly, regardless of how much coffee you consume.
That being said, there are plenty of reasons to continue your coffee habit, other than a potential reduced risk in developing cirrhosis.” From Bustle.com http://tinyurl.com/hf5wk3p
So help me out: Does “that being said” annoy you? Do you have other “fuzzwords” you think we should avoid? Please let me know. And don’t tell your boss.