Effective use of language is the start of effective communication. While there are additional tools like our eyes, heart and experience that we use to communicate; it all really begins with the language or words that we use. How well a person communicates will often determine their level of success. You can have the greatest idea in the world but if you can’t find a way to communicate it to others it will likely never get off the ground.
Successful people know how to talk with their audiences when giving presentations. Even if it’s a one-on-one meeting, you are still giving a presentation, and the same rules apply as if the meeting was a large keynote before hundreds of people.
All too often, our speaking skills distort our images as capable, knowledgeable professionals. We hem and haw, trying to find the right word. We may even discount ourselves and our ideas without realizing it, or we might unknowingly offend others with our language. Descriptive, simple language and short sentences are best.
One key to effectively using your language, whether it’s English, French, German or Pirahã, is to avoid the use of waffle words.
Certain expressions, phrases and words can rob people of their “communication power.” These “Waffle Words” should be avoided. Verbal communication shortcomings can detract from your confidence, authority and professionalism. A few examples of waffle words are:
“I guess”, “I hope”, “I think”, “Maybe”, “Sort of”, “Kind of” and “Probably”
It’s pretty easy to get into the bad habit of inserting these waffle words into our sentences as “filler.” If you pay attention to what you’re really saying you may be surprised how often you use these Waffle Words.
Instead of saying these things out of habit, be aware of what you say and create new, more effective habits when you speak.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
Make sure your habits are good ones.