Tag Archives: presentation tips

Want Stronger Communication? Eliminate Weak Language

A recent conversation with my son reminded me of the importance of eliminating weak language from our communication.This past weekend, I was at the breakfast table sharing coffee with my wife, and our seven-year old son. While we were sitting there, he asked me lots of questions (as always) about whatever was inside his head. Today, it was plants and how they grow. And I said something like, “All living things keep growing, all the time.” He pushed back and said, “All living things, Daddy?”

I thought about it for a moment, realized the limits of my knowledge of biology, and started to backtrack a bit. I said “maybe not everything, but pretty much most living things grow.”

He then asked me, “Daddy, what does ‘pretty much’ mean?”

My wife Emily looked at me and smiled, because she knows how much time I spend every day coaching people to eliminate phrases like “pretty much” from their speech pattern. And here I was, using that exact phrase with my son, because I didn’t know the exact answer and I needed a hedge.

Weak phrases like “pretty much,” “sort of,” “kind of,” or “a little bit,” don’t actually add a lot to your message. Phrases like these make you sound exactly the way I sounded to my son this morning. These kinds of phrases make you sound unsure, like you are hedging, because that is exactly what you ARE doing.

People waste words all the time, filling up the space with extra language that doesn’t actually communicate much, doesn’t add anything to our message.

At The Latimer Group, we always coach our clients to say what they mean, exactly what they mean, and to get to the point in as few a words as possible. Weak phrases like the ones above, or filler words like “however” or “nevertheless” do nothing but take up time.

The best speakers I know don’t waste words. The best speakers I know say what they mean, as clearly as possible, in as few words as possible.

Record yourself when you speak sometime, even just a phone call. And count how many times you use weak phrases like “sort of” or how many words you use to fill space.

If you can eliminate the extra words or unnecessary phrases, you will be able to get to the point more quickly, you will be more likely to keep your audience’s attention and your audience will know exactly what you are trying to say.

Have a great day.

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at info@TheLatimerGroup.com
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How to Align a Successful Team: Step 2

Last week, we wrote about the first step in aligning a successful team: Have a goal. Without a clear goal or mission, then the team will have no purpose, no idea where it is going. Sounds obvious, right? Sure it does. But in our experience, this seemingly obvious step gets missed all the time. There… Continue Reading

Authenticity, Confidence, and Executive Presence

Today’s post was written by Amy Fenollosa, Director of Learning at The Latimer Group. By now you have probably seen the hilarious BBC news clip of the Political Science Professor being interrupted during a live television interview. His children barged into his office—the smiling toddler in yellow, followed by an enthusiastic baby in a walker.… Continue Reading

How Distracting is Your Speaking Style?

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Be the Fearless Girl. Stare Down the Bull!

Today’s post was written by Amy Fenollosa, Director of Learning at The Latimer Group. State Street Global Advisors pulled off a brilliant coup with its surprise installation of the “Fearless Girl” on Wednesday morning to acknowledge International Women’s Day. State Street has been advocating to increase the number of women in leadership roles and sitting on… Continue Reading

10 Time Management Tips to Create Better Communication

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How to Thrive in the New Communication Age

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How to Communicate at the Highest Level

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Presentation Tips: Organize Your Details

Several of my coaching conversations have been focused on the same thing of late… when I am speaking to my boss, how do I stay out of the weeds? I get stuck in the deep detail, and he/she gets frustrated with me. Sound familiar? “Too much detail” is a constant issue in the 21st century… Continue Reading

When Communicating, Don’t Make People “Change the Channel”

The world I grew up in and the world my young son is growing up in are vastly different. And I’m not even that old! But when I was a kid, there was no cable TV, no internet, no streaming content… We had five channels, and you watched what was on, commercials and all, and… Continue Reading

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