Want punch? Cut these words

When we, Rococo PR, get a communication job (spoken or written) we pay keen attention to choice of words. We distill and then deploy diction for impact. Our public speaking and writing classes take the same approach.

See, we’re in the business of influence, therefore, words matter. They matter because they’re the core to building understanding, solid reputations and terrific images. Great brands, people, products, organisations must cut to the chase. Smart use of words do that.

Yet, most folks, especially spokespersons, brand ambassadors, honchos, or subject-matter experts, use words and phrases that sap energy from their communication. Ultimately, they fail to create impact and influence.

Get the punch. Cut off weakening words

See, we subconsciously use these common words, but they weaken our communication.

  1. Think: “I/we think our project is going to change lives.”
  2. Guess: “I/we guess it’s the right thing to do.”
  3. Hope: “I/we hope our project will help.”
  4. Try: “I/We’re trying to make everyone happy.”
  5. Maybe: “Maybe it’s the right model this time.”

There’s one common thread in all the above: they sublimely communicate unreliability, uncertainty. Doubt. Yet, your readers and listeners want certainty, confidence, or authority. No one trusts an uncertain, wobbly brand. Advise: chop them off from your sentences unless you are quoting someone directly.

Then there is Just: “I/We just want to change how things are done.”

Just belittles the essence. It portrays flippancy.

But don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying that these words are useless. No. in every word usage, context matters. A good communicator must be alive to the situation to deploy the right word or phrase. For instance, if you want to diffuse pressure, manage expectations or even dodge responsibility, those “uncertain” words come in handy.

Meantime, next time you are communicating, watch out your choice of words. It helps a great deal.

Erick Wamanji

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