Frequently I am asked if executives should dumb down their communications. No, not necessarily. The Patricia Fripp suggestion is to speak conversationally. If you would use that word or phrase at the dinner table, or in your boardroom include it in your speech or conversation. However, you must also consider whether you sound original and thoughtful.
Phrases and words that are redundant and overused should be banished; whether you’re writing or speaking, these will weaken your message and cause your audience to tune out. Knowing you should avoid well-worn jargon is the easy part; incorporating this into your daily life is tougher.
Here are 11 of the worst culprits in corporate communications shared in a Ragan Communications newsletter with replacement suggestions for each one. Do your best to remove these from your writing and speaking. It will become easier when you know what to replace them with. Why not print this list?
1. utilize ➙ use, show, fill, take, apply, push, work
2. end-user ➙ client, customer, audience, shopper, buyer
3. synergy ➙ team, powerful, effective, stronger, more, together
4. mission-critical ➙ main, big, major, central, chief, crucial
5. win/win ➙ good, smart, strong, clear, sound, skillful
6. value-added ➙ worthwhile, effective, better, helpful, ahead
7. ideate ➙ create, think, craft, whir, plan, test, solve
8. operationalize ➙ make, do, put, carry, finish, use, see, work
9. scalable ➙ grow, expand, wide, more, big, spread, include
10. deliverables ➙ results, value, outcome, change, effect
11. outside the box ➙ different, bold, striking, unique, brave, exciting
This list comes from Becky Gaylord from Gaylord LLC Consulting. Thank you Becky!
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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.