Thursday, 22 March 2012

Using Clear, Precise Language

As a leader, are you using clear, precise language.....or filler?

Meaningless phrases, such as "To be honest" and "Like I said," or euphemisms often creep up in meetings and presentations. Using these expressions undermines your credibility. Try replacing this filler language with meaning by doing the following:
  • Switch from conditional to declarative. Couching statements with phrases like "I believe" or "We think" weakens your argument. Strengthen your points by cutting to the chase. If you must use the conditional, try the stronger "We're confident" or "We expect."
  • Be positive. Negative statements sound defensive and fail to provide information. Instead of saying "What we're not is…" tell your audience exactly what you are.
  • Lose the euphemisms.  Use clear, precise language that means something to participants.  Euphemisms suggest that you're unsure or you're hedging.   

Adapted from "Replace Meaningless Words with Meaningful Ones" by Jerry Weissman.

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