Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Words That Suck Energy from Your Presentation


Words that suck energy from your presentation
Speakers say the darnedest things.

Here is an assortment of destructive words and phrases that I heard at a meeting. Notice how these words might sabotage a presentation by distracting, boring or annoying your audience.

Stuff
This is vague. It suggests that the speaker doesn't know the subject. Try to picture stuff. There are more descriptive words that could be used; baggage, benefits, lessons, options, programs, products, books, ideas, plans…

You guys
This is too colloquial. It might be okay to use with a group of buddies, but not with a group of business associates. This phrase is just a hair above gangster speak "youse guys". When I hear this phrase I wonder if the speaker knows that the word you is both singular and plural.

Bucks
Bucks are male deer. The person meant dollars. The word bucks is too colloquial and low class.

Second to none
This is a cliché which suggests unoriginal thought. It’s not visual. Try to picture “second to none”. It’s also the combination of two negative words. Instead say the best or first.

At the end of the day
An overused cliché – thus unoriginal thought. Clichés tend to be boring – because we heard it before. When the audience hears clichés they tend to tune out and might miss what you say next.

Without further ado
This is cliché, vague and negative. What does ado look like? What does the lack of ado look like? And why was the audience subjected to some ado already? Instead, pause and continue.

Pretty unique
Ha, Ha. Is the opposite of this "ugly unique"? If you mean unique, say unique. If it’s pretty then call it unique and pretty.

Very, very unique
This might win the prize for the dumbest phrase in this rotten bunch. Is very unique more unique than unique? When you stack your verys, does that mean twice or ten times?

Truth be told
Cliché. Naturally one might wonder why the speaker feels he needed to point out that he was now about to tell the truth. Was everything up to this point a lie?

Moving on
Cliché. This phase adds no value. If the speaker talks about the next topic the audience will know that he moved on – for what that’s worth. Simply move on.

Going forward
Cliché. This one suggests that there is an alternative to going forward and that must be going backward. Instead say “The next step is”.

To be honest
Cliché. Whenever a speaker says this the audience would be justified in questioning the speaker’s honesty. Should we put the speaker on a polygraph? Why does the speaker need to qualify the next words with this curious phrase?

Okay
The speaker made a statement and then tacked on “Okay” at the end in a questioning way. This speaker did this several times. Was the speaker questioning whether the audience understood the statement? Was the speaker questioning whether the audience agreed with the statement? Was the speaker chastising the audience for being so dense? Was the speaker simply validating himself by saying that he was doing Okay?

Whole bunch
We have a whole bunch of products for you. It just sounds vague and low class. It doesn't place those products in a positive light.


Your audience doesn't listen to every word you say. They also react more to certain words than others. Certain phrases might detour their thoughts onto a tangent. If you want to hold the attention and credibility of your audience avoid using these self-destructive phrases.



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