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Most overused words ‘turning people off’

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
30 August 2018 1 minute readShare
turn off, angry

The most irritating words and phrases commonly used in business have been revealed in a poll of SME owners, and far from attracting new opportunities, they are actually repelling people.

“There are some words that really annoy people because they get thrown around like confetti and lose their meaning,” independent business consultant Angela Henderson said.

“Instead of enticing and drawing the reader closer, these words are repelling and turning people off.”


Ms Henderson polled 830 small business owners, and found that the most cringeworthy term used in marketing is an increasingly common one – “mumpreneur”.

According to Ms Henderson, the term – used by many female entrepreneurs who have children – is commonly seen as a derogatory one.


“[It’s] as if, when you reproduce, your prior qualifications, skills and experience go back on the shelf; you become a ‘mum’, then to do anything entrepreneurial is an unusual variation of your true function of being a mum,” one respondent to the poll said.

“No one mentions ‘dadpreneurs’ do they?”

Ms Henderson said that the term proved to be quite divisive, with 28 per cent of respondents despising its common usage.

“Some people wear the label like a badge of honour, while other women find it incredibly offensive,” she said.



Next on the list of hated words was “hustle”, which 22 per cent of respondents felt had negative connotations of forced labour or selling out.

This was closely followed by “authentic”.

“[This is] used to convince people that you are being real and relatable, but if you are not being authentic, then what are you doing?” Ms Henderson said.

“If you have to tell people you are authentic, then chances are you are trying too hard. Just be you.”

Top 10 most overused words/phrases in business:

  1. Mumpreneur
  2. Hustle
  3. Authentic
  4. Boss Babe
  5. Influencer
  6. Live your best life
  7. Preneur with any prefix (e.g. solopreneur, ecopreneur, multipreneur, socialpreneur, teenpreneur, greenpreneur, seniorpreneur)
  8. Expert
  9. Guru
  10. Tribe

Source: Angela Henderson Consulting

Most overused words ‘turning people off’
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at [email protected]

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