Weak Language When Presenting is Sort of a Problem

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, as often as possible. They don’t waste their audience’s time, or weaken their message, with weak language like “pretty much,” “sort of,” “kind of,” or “a little bit.”

Phrases like these don’t add anything to your message. In fact, they detract from your message in pretty significant ways.

Phrases like these make you sound unsure, like you are hedging.

Phrases like these undercut your credibility.

And yes… we deliberately used an example of that weak language in the title of this post, to illustrate what it can do to your message and your credibility when presenting.

In the next few meetings you participate in, start listening for this kind of weak language. Trust me… you will hear these phrases all over the place. And when you hear this kind of language, start thinking about what weak language does to the strength of the 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, and weaken the credibility of the speaker and the strength of the message.

Now, once you have noticed this kind of weak language in others, then start to examine your own speech behaviors. 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. Because vocabulary like this will have the same effect on your impact as it does on others.

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. Your speaking skills will demonstrate your conviction, and build your credibility, and you will get better outcomes more often.

Have a great day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.