My speech coaching clients frequently hear me say, “Are you going to do it, or kind of do it? Remember, you do not kind of or sort of do anything.”
Even seasoned executives who should know better, use these weak words and phrases. Often, I believe they are attempting to sound humble. However, it only makes them lose their power in conversations and presentations.
We are talking about speech qualifiers.
Speech qualifiers are words and phrases that we use to weaken our statements or soften the impact of our message. Some common speech qualifiers include “kind of,” “sort of,” “maybe,” “probably,” “just,” “a little bit,” “try,” and “I think.” While these words and phrases may seem harmless, they can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of our communication. Here is why.
First, speech qualifiers can undermine our credibility.
When we use words like “kind of” or “sort of,” we suggest that we are not fully committed to our message or that we lack confidence in what we are saying. This can lead our audience to doubt the validity of our message and question our expertise or knowledge on the topic.
Second speech qualifiers can diminish the impact of our message.
When we use words like “maybe” or “probably,” we suggest that we are uncertain about our message or that there are exceptions to what we are saying. This can make our message less compelling and less persuasive.
Third, speech qualifiers can distract our audience from our message.
When we use words like “just” or “a little bit,” we draw attention to the qualifier rather than the message itself. This can make our audience lose focus on the key idea we are attempting to make.
I challenge my coaching clients to avoid using sloppy language which includes speech qualifiers. To accomplish this, they must be intentional in their daily conversations and meetings. Listen to the recording of their meetings. Review their presentations. Ask their family, friends, and team members to bring to their attention when they use their “naughty words.”
Once we eliminate words and phrases that weaken our statements or distract from our message, we will build our credibility, increase the impact of our message, and communicate with greater clarity and conviction.
I am sure you agree, the benefits of being known as a powerful communicator is worth the effort.
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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp is hired by individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.
“The information in FrippVT is as valuable as any college course I’ve taken. This is a resource that everyone needs. The investment is worth ten times more than I paid and has been life-changing. My fees, recommendations, and referrals have increased dramatically. I am delighted. For the first time in my speaking career, I know exactly want I am doing when I walk on stage. One technique in course 8 helped me win a highly-paid, international speech.” Mitzi Perdue, author of How to Make Your Family Business Last