Lose the Lame Language
Nothing detracts from a presentation more than “ lame language.” These are the words and phrases that are unconvincingly feeble. They dilute your message and detract from your credibility. There are several types of lame language..
We call the first “ dumbisms.” In this category are simple sounds and short phrases such as “ um” , “ ah” , “ yu know” , “ actually,” “ basically,” or the ubiquitous “ like.” These dumbisms tend to creep into presentations like resting notes in a musical score. You come to the end of a thought. You pause…You need to think… to gain a bit of time to compose your ideas. You look down. Then youbegin the next sentence with the Um or ah.
The remedy for this is the intentional pause. You come to the completion of your idea. You pause to let what you have just said get soaked up by the audience. You take a breath. Maybe smile or make eye contact…and then move purposefully on to your next idea. Simplistic phrases are another type of lame language. These phrases come at the beginning of sentences. I believe, I feel, I think. When uttered occasionally, the’re ok, but when overdone, they become auditory hiccups.
If you are up on the podium the audience already knows that you think feel and believe. You can either eliminate this construct…or take a stronger tact and tell your audience that you are confident, convinced, or even that you anticipate, predict or wager. Try to cut down on trite business—or professorial speak. “ At the end of the day, In my humble opinion, After careful consideration of the facts.”
It takes a concerted effort to break free of your linguistic bad habits. Here’s a tip: Put a rubber band around your wrist, and for the next three days, every time you catch yourself using lame language, give yourself a tweak. Or you could try the tip I employed with my pre-teen daughter when we carpooled with her Southern California friends. I told her that whenever anyone in the car uttered an inappropriate “ like” , 25cents would be deducted from her allowance. Guess what….the “ likes” became few and far between.
Mark J. Tager, MD
Mark J. Tager, MD is co-founder of ChangeWell Training Academy. A veteran of more than 800 presentations Mark shares his skills and passion to empower those who attend his trainings. A highly sought after speaker, Mark lectures for a number of medical device, nutraceutical, cosmeceutical and biotech companies. He has authored nine books related to health and performance. He attended Duke University Medical School and trained in family practice at The Oregon Health & Science University. Learn more about, Mark.