businessman in doubt,By Mark Lyons, CAPP

Vendor interviews and presentations today—guess what word or phrase is the most overused? Used so much that I want to let everyone know how it hurts. One might think that in today’s accelerated world of constant change and trend watching, we would be hearing the most commonly used phrases. Presentations provide us with an opportunity to demonstrate our products, expertise, and professionalism, yet there is one word that is seemingly going unnoticed and is sticking around—hanging on like a bad migraine headache. No, it’s not the word “pandemic.” No, it’s not “COVID-19,” or “the new normal.”

Let’s look at a Google search to see what the most used phrases have been:

virus, zoom, social distancing, remote work, face mask, quarantine, CDC, unemployment, climate change, sanitize, stimulus, woke, fake news, and there are so many more.

But no, it’s not any of these phrases at all! Really, how does this word/phrase slip by without detection by most speakers? Why do receivers of the audible message seemingly overlook this highly and abundantly used phrase? You know what I mean, right?

Move over “Um” and make room for “Right?”! When did the word, “right?”  become the new um? Remember speech class? Um…Um…I mean…Um. How many times did your parents and teachers remind you not to say um?

I don’t know when it happened. But somehow using “right” after a statement transmits a new sense of confidence in messaging. And it’s not even on the most overused phrase list? My spelling and grammar check doesn’t even tell me not to use it! I mean, how does that happen, right?


Mark Lyons, CAPP, is division manager of parking and mobility at the City of Sarasota, Fla., and a member of IPMI’s Board of Directors.