Want to be an Effective Writer and Speaker? 30 Ways to Improve

Patricia Fripp Keynote Speaker & Executive Speech Coach
Patricia Fripp Keynote Speaker & Executive Speech Coach
Want to be an Effective Writer and Speaker?

Patricia Fripp is a Hall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach, sales presentation skills trainer and partern in World Champions Edge coaching community.
Tried-and-true words and phrases are convenient, but they are also truly trying—as with clichés, when a writer or speaker relies too heavily on stock usage, the resulting prose is tired and uninspired.

Watch out for the following deadly usages.
1. After having: “After looking around, I chose a seat” is fine, and so is “Having looked around, I chose a seat,” but “After having looked around, I chose a seat” is redundant. “Having” means that the action has already been performed, so the context is clear that the writer is writing after the fact.

2. Aged: Identifying the age or age range of a person or a group with this word puts the subject(s) in a category with cheese or wine. Write “50 years old,” for example, instead of “aged 50 years,” or “ages 21-34” rather than “aged 21-34.”

3. Aggravate: To aggravate is to make something worse, not to bother, annoy, or irritate.

4. And also: And and also are redundant; use one or the other.

5. Anticipate: To anticipate is to foresee (and perhaps act on that foresight), not to expect.

6. Anxious: To be anxious is to feel distressed or worried, not eager.

7. Approximately: How about using about instead? Save three syllables. For scientific or technical references, approximately is fine, but it’s a bit much in most other contexts.

8. As to whether: “As to” is extraneous; use whether only.

9. At this point in time: Omit this meaningless filler.

10. Basically, essentially, totally: Basically, these words are essentially nonessential, and you can totally dispense with them.

11. Being as/being that: Replace these phrases with because.

12. Considered to be: “To be” is extraneous; write considered only, or consider deleting it as well.

13. Could care less: No, you couldn’t. You want to convey that it’s not possible for you to care less, so you couldn’t care less.

14. Due to the fact that: Replace this phrase with because.

15. Each and every: Write “Each item is unique,” or “Every item is unique,” but not “Each and every item is unique.”

16. Equally as: As is superfluous; write equally only.

17. Was a factor, is a factor, will be a factor: If your writing includes one of these phrases, its presence is a sign that you’re not done revising yet; rewrite “The vehicle’s condition is a factor in performance,” for example, to “The vehicle’s condition affects its performance.”

18. Had ought: Had is redundant; use ought only.

19. Have got: Got is suitable for informal writing only; if you’re referring to necessity, consider must rather than “have got,” and if the reference is to simple possession, delete got from the phrase “have got.”

20. In many cases/it has often been the case: Reduce the word count in statements containing these verbose phrases by replacing “in many cases” with often, for example.

21. In the process of: This extraneous phrasing is acceptable in extemporaneous speaking but unnecessarily verbose in prepared oration and in writing.

22. Is a . . . which/who: If you find yourself writing a phrase like this, step back and determine how to write it more succinctly; “Smith is a man who knows how to haggle,” for example, can be abbreviated to “Smith knows how to haggle.”

23. Kind of/sort of: In formal writing, if you must qualify a statement, use a more stately qualifier such as rather, slightly, or somewhat.

24. Lots/lots of: In formal writing, employ many or much in place of one of these colloquialisms.

25. Of a . . . character: If you use character as a synonym for quality, make the reference concise. “The wine has a musty character” is better rendered “The wine tasted musty,” and “He was a man with a refined character” can be revised to the more concise statement “The man was refined,” but better yet, describe how the man is refined.

26. Of a . . . nature: Just as with character, when you use nature as a synonym for quality, pare the phrasing down: Reduce “She had a philosophical nature,” for example, to “She was philosophical.”

27. Oftentimes: An outdated, unnecessary complication of often.

28. On account of: Replace this awkward phrase with because.

29. Renown: Renown is the noun (as well as a rarely used verb); renowned is the adjective. Avoid the like of “the renown statesman.”

30. Thankfully: In formal usage, this word is not considered a synonym for fortunately.

Ragan Communications is a great resource for great ways to improve your communication skills.
If you want to improve your public speaking and presentation skills why not attend Lady and the Champs How to Speaking Seminar?