5 Words Presenters Shouldn’t Say

NO, I’m not talking about George Carlin’s “words you can’t say on television”. (Ahem). I’m talking about plain ol’ every day garden variety words that are BAD because they’re wishy-washy and weak. When introducing yourself, your business, product, or service you want to use BIG BOLD BRAVE words. Words that bespeak confidence about you and what you offer.

Maybe: (might, perhaps, etc): This is no time for indecision or wavering. It’s not “Maybe we can help.”, or “You might want to give us a call.” Take a deep breath and say, “We can help.” Or “Give us a call.” Be definitive, be certain. If you say “maybe” the audience thinks “maybe not”. In an elevator speech or persuasive presentation we don’t want to leave wiggle room.

Hopefully: Not that there isn’t a leap of faith involved in just about every business undertaking, but we certainly don’t want our audience to know that. “Hopefully you’ll contact us.” Sounds like you’re living on a wing and a prayer, not on sound products and services. HOPE has nothing to do with the prospect, employer, or client contacting you, hiring you, buying your stuff. It’s the SOLID earthly benefits of you, your product or service that sells. You must sound positive so that they are positive about you.

Sort of: Ay yi yi. Are you or aren’t you? Is it or isn’t it? Do you have a good handle on what it is you’re selling or not?? HELLO. If you don’t absolutely know your product or service in absolute language you may as well stay home. Seriously. You may be offering the greatest thing since pockets, but if in telling about it you use mushy half-committed words then your audience will be left with a mushy half-committed feeling about it. You can’t expect them to be more sure of or excited about your product or service than you are, right? If you aren’t gaga-over-the-moon-certain about it, how will anyone else sign on?

Sorry: My mother-in-law is a gourmet cook who had a bad habit of critiquing her meals OUT LOUD while we were eating them. “When I made this for the Capetula’s I added more salt and it tasted better.” Huh? As far as I was concerned the dish was delicious! Her self-criticism diminished my enjoyment, (albeit only slightly – the woman can cook).

In presentations, “sorry” should not escape your lips. What in the world are you apologizing for? Unless you’re two hours late because your flight was delayed or you were in a terrible traffic jam, or the thermostat’s broken in the room, you have NOTHING to apologize for. This means if your slides are messed up, or you forgot something, or your notes are too small for you to read KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Don’t distract the audience with something about which they wouldn’t have known and don’t really care.

Try: As in “We try and help our clients…” You’re kidding, right? Potential clients don’t want to hear about “trying“, they want to hear about DOING. They want to hear words like GUARANTEE. They want to hear words like CONSISTENT. Try? People try to do things all day long; your prospects and clients want to hear about SUCCEEDING. Remember, your audience is looking to you to assure them in no uncertain terms that you CAN deliver. Period

It may take some conscious effort to move out of the land of wishy-washy and into the solid sanctuary of BIG BOLD and BRAVE. Give your audience the assurance and confidence they’re looking for in something they want to “buy”. They are counting on you to be your own unequivocal cheerleader. Toss those weak words; adopt the BIG, BOLD BRAVE ones instead, and you’ll be heard.

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