Are you wasteful with words?

I heard an interview on the radio this morning in which the interviewee said

?It is obvious that our advertisement offended some people, however sales clearly went up?.

This got me thinking about how often we use superfluous and meaningless words in both our speaking and our writing.

  • It is obvious that?
  • You will see that?
  • You know?
  • And so on and so forth?
  • Each and every single one of you?

Then you can combine the superfluous words ? ?you can obviously see that?

The problem is that they very seldom add value to what you are saying, and they are not always true. In the above case, is it really that obvious? Then there are the obvious filler words ? umm, ahh?clearly you can see how little value they add. If you need space to think when speaking ? just pause and take a breath. It also gives the audience time to catch up.

We tend to use the same filler words in our speeches; they become crutches. This can become very distracting for the audience. To find out how good (or bad) you are, record your next presentation and listen to it afterwards. Even better, transcribe your speech, and you will very quickly become aware of what you are saying.

One of the words that I recently found myself using is ?stuff?. It is a not-descriptive word ? it does not portray any meaning. So now I ask myself the questions ?what stuff?, and I try to find a more meaningful word.

What are your crutch words?

One thought on “Are you wasteful with words?”

  1. I believe society and the professional world has been teaching this manner of speaking for a while. If you will consider, businesses in the decades since radio and television have emerged, have been faced with “live mics” when ever a possible problem arose. In that spur of the moment, they had to answer. Often times without enough facts to give an accurate answer.

    I believe this is where the purposeful use of these superfluous and meaningless words developed.

    As a speaker, you are aware of these words. You keep an eye on your objective and eliminate words that don’t contribute to it. You define your message and then ensure you are presenting it in the most memorable and powerful manner.

    Yet others disguise the lack of message with an overabundance of meaningless words, like a recon marine in a hostile jungle. You can’t be sure what it is, or where it is, but hopefully you will give them the benefit of the doubt. “There must be a valid answer in there somewhere.”

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