As an executive speech coach, I recommend that when preparing your presentation, you record yourself and then listen carefully to identify and eliminate all unnecessary words and phrases. Cut out anything that will dilute your message, including your personal verbal “tics,” clichés, and filler words. Business communications expert, Ben Decker of Decker Communications reminds us that when we edit out filler words, we increase the clarity and credibility of our business communications:
Literally – Just a Filler Word
by Ben Decker
If there were Survivor for words, I’d vote off “literally.”
It’s inserted into sentences for no real reason.
I am literally the hungriest person in the world right now.
I am literally going to break this printer in a minute.
The coffee machine is literally the slowest thing on the planet.
Sound familiar? Maybe you even use it that way? You are not alone. Similar to “um” and “uh”, “literally” has become a common filler word – tossed into sentences unnecessarily.
Honestly… (as if you’ve been lying up until now)
You probably have a distracting filler word, and you just don’t know it. The word “truly” got me a couple years ago, and once focused on it, I was able to get rid of it in about a day.
Here are three tips for cutting out the ums, uhs and literallys:
1. Watch yourself on video: there’s no better tool than this. The camera doesn’t lie, especially when it comes to audio.
2. Leave yourself a voicemail: When replaying it for yourself, note the words you default to when you’re not focused. In our one-on-one platinum coaching, we always give an audio recorder to executives to use so that they know how they come across. Alternatively, you can even use your smart phone in “voice memo” function (the only problem is that you’re usually on it).
3. Try to overdo a pause. The power of the pause has amazing impact. Just pause.
It won’t take extra time – it will just take extra effort.
The payoff for this is tremendous: Heightened credibility. A better delivery. Best of all, a clearer message without the distractions – like the ones you notice in others.
Ben Decker, CEO of Decker Communications, is an expert in consulting, training, and messaging for effective business communications. Ben has worked with hundreds of leaders in Fortune 500 companies to strategize and implement solutions that are practical, direct, and attainable.
Thank you Ben!
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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.