VOTE: It’s official! Here are the top 10 most irritating phrases as voted by comms people

Democracy is a wonderful thing.
So is hearing common sense talked but unfortunately as comms people we can’t always have both.
So, on the rather amazing Public Sector Comms Headspace group we ran a poll to find out the most irritating phrase heard.
You’d have thought that phrase was ‘can I have a press release.’
But no.
The public has spoken and as the returning officer I hearby announce…

The most irritating phrases heard by comms people


1. “It’s been signed off already…”

We’ve all been there. The email requesting a clip art poster be sent as an all-staff ewmail to 4,000 people. The press release with spelling mistakes and Too Many Capital Letters.
Take a bow rank pullers. And do one.

cameras-composition-data-1483937 2. “Weave your magic…”

In other words, I really don’t know what I want. I don’t know what you do. But can you do it, whatever you do.
But I reserve the right to say: ‘That’s not what I actually wanted.’

3. “Can you comms it up?”

Quite what this means, I’ll never know. Never in a million years.
But I think the correct response needs to be: “Let’s have a talk. A frank one.”

adult-blur-businessman-20728994. “Can’t you just put it on the internet?”

Ah, the magic internet. It’s an information superhighway, you know. You place something onto the internet and it magically reaches everyone you want it to reach… and you want to stop me from doing this?

adult-background-casual-9416935. “Sprinkle your fairy dust.”

Or, in other words, ‘I don’t know what you do, I don’t know what I want, but I do remember Paul Daniels on the telly when I was a kid.’
The wand doesn’t feel magical when its hit over your head.
Very FFS.

active-activity-beach-408156. “We need a poster.”

The common request of someone who isn’t that great at their own job but knows fine well exactly how to do yours. Why? They’ve been making this quest since 1977.
Ever since in fact someone important told them that was how to do it.
Closely followed by: ‘But its our budget.’
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7. “Tell them its not a story.”

Journalists are great but that question they’ve asked which is a but awkward is a bit inconvenient, tbqfh. If only you would tell them that its not a story it would all go away.


8. “Can you make it look pretty?”

Again, this is a variation of not knowing what you do or what they want. What can this possibly mean? Do you know? No, nor me.
But I do know that whatever you do won’t be the right thing.
One to have a conversation with.

9. ‘Can you make it go viral?’

What? The picture of two 45-year-old men? In suits? In a room? That’s low res? That has them staring into space? You want the kids to see? And you think I can make it go viral?
No, I don’t think I can. Not even backed with all the resources of the Allies on D-Day.


10. “Make it whizzy”

It’s a little known fact but the This Girl Can Sport England was 7.95 whizzy whereas the person who asked for it to be copied for tomorrow morning is actually -6.51 on the whizzy spectrum.
So, now you know.
Thank you.

A huge thank you more than 400 people who voted on the Public Sector Comms Headspace Facebook group and in particular for suggesting phrases Sam Phillips, Kayley Godfrey, Emma Dingle, Kate Norman, Emma Wild, Sarah Freeman, Carolyne Mitchell, Gemma Smith, Leona Murray-Smith, Sue Johns, Laura Patrick, John Day, Mark Roberts, Elizabeth Fearnley, Daphne Henderson, Katie Rogerson, Suzanne Halliwell, Dom Hall and Steph Gray.
Picture credits: All stock images used oironically.

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