How to Sound Intelligent in A Speech Or Sales Presentation

Patricia Fripp helps you sound intelligent as an Executive Speech Coach and the creator of Fripp Virtual Training.

Patricia Fripp, Executive Speech Coach & Creator of Fripp Virtual Training

Whether you’re delivering a sales presentation, keynote speech, or report to the board, choose your words carefully to build credibility, sound intelligent, and make your message understood. When you do, you have the power to make your message stick and get quoted from the boardroom to the convention hall.

The One “Thing” to Avoid

by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Never be vague if you want to be believed. Use exact, precise words – words with power and value.

People tune out when they hear weak, overused, catch-all words. Yet, it’s so easy to get sloppy. For example, you might have even heard more than one professional speaker say, “The most important thing is…”

I coach professional speakers, consultants, coaches, and trainers on their presentation skills and I’m amazed at how often I hear the word “thing.” The one thing you should always avoid when you speak is “thing.” What a fuzzy, flabby, non-specific word!

I was providing mini speech coaching sessions at an event for speakers, consultants, coaches, and trainers and as I noticed the overuse and abuse of the word “thing,” I started to jot down alternatives.

It’s tempting to be lazy with language, but the next time you hear someone – maybe even yourself – use the word “thing,” write out the sentence and find a way to replace “thing” with a stronger and more specific word. You will become more aware of your own word choices and find it easier to speak with precision.

Here’s the list of better choices I quickly brainstormed as I sat in the back of the seminar room. (I’ve alphabetized them for your convenience.)

“The most important _______ is…

approach
assumption
attitude
challenge
commitment
conclusion
condition
consideration
deduction
deliberation
detail
discipline
distraction
element
event
example
exercise
experience
fact
focus
habit
idea
image
inspiration
instruction
lesson
message
method
miracle
moment
necessity
opinion
opportunity
option
organization
paradox
perception
philosophy
practice
precaution
principle
problem
process
program
reason
reflection
routine
safeguard
secret
sentiment
speculation
speech
strategy
tendency
thought
view
way

How many specific words you can you come up with to replace the vague word “thing?” Think about these alternate words, carry them with you, and use them to add precision and power to your presentations and conversations.

Choose your words carefully to build credibility, sound intelligent, and make your message understood.

Fripp Virtual TrainingBecome a great presenter quickly, easily, and cost-effectively on your own schedule. I’m here for you 24/7 through Fripp Virtual Training.

“I wanted a super bowl-quality coach, and I was lucky to be introduced to Patricia Fripp. Her help in coaching and scripting was world class. With Patricia Fripp on your team, you can go places.”
– Don Yaeger, Long-Time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, New York Times Best-Selling Author

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More to Help You Sound Intelligent

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.

 
  1. Patricia, what a great list. I’ve often had the same challenge when posting tips on my blog. This list not only works for speaking but for writing as well. Thanks for taking time to compile these alternatives!

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