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The following post is courtesy of Diane Harrison who is principal and owner of Panegyric Marketing, a strategic marketing communications firm founded in 2002 specializing in alternative assets.

As we draw to the close of what can certainly be categorized an annus horribilis, there are several overused and tired phrases that need to be booted from our collective vocabulary in 2021. While sometimes the familiarity of hearing common language can foster a spirit of community, the gross overuse of such phrases can also contribute to ennui, a generalized overdose of word salad. 

Before we commence with new marketing and sales efforts across the investment universe for 2021, here are my nominations for retirement from our 2021 lexicon:

In these unprecedented times…

While 2020 certainly posed challenges that impacted the global community, preceding every single development with this phrase caused it to lose any true impact when reporting on the pandemic and its impact on the world. As we are likely to continue to do battle with Covid-19 well into next year, let’s all agree that these times are no longer unprecedented.

Social distancing

The CDC can’t seem to agree on what exactly is the proper distance for social distancing: 6 feet? 12 feet? Depends on which way the wind is blowing? While the admonishment to maintain social distancing is recommended virtually everywhere you go these days, what that means varies widely from place to place. Perhaps 2021 will bring an update to this ambiguous phrase with more specificity in distancing defined for clarity.


This word connotes a wartime status and carries a vaguely threatening tone, so perhaps in 2021 there can be another way to describe a unified effort to limit non-essential traveling on a local and regional level.

We are all in this together…

While the goal of this phrase was intended to create a feeling of unity and collective sacrifice, it’s been used so often and has been hijacked by so many companies for their own sales campaigns this year that to hear it stated sets my teeth on edge, Let’s vow to find another way to indicate we want to help each other get on with it in 2021.

Zoom meetings

I’m sure I can’t be the only person who finds the rhythm of these virtual talking head meetings difficult to navigate successfully. As the participant number climbs, the effectiveness of meaningful communication drops until half the time is spent with participants apologizing for stepping on someone else’s comment. I sincerely hope that 2021 isn’t going to be another full year of zooming versus other means of conducting interpersonal communication dynamics.

I could go on and pick additional hackneyed phrases from 2020, but I think these are fair representatives of the worst offenders this year, so in the interest of both brevity and clarity, I’ll stop there.

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