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.
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…
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 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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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
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.
Presentation Tips on Twitter Presentation Skills Club on Facebook
Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives