In the fall of 2006, right before my first college days , I got a chance to listen to Professor Barbara Tannenbaum for the first time. Little did I know, that she would end up being the mom of my friend across the hall, a friend to whom I still talk to regularly. Through the years, EVERYONE talked about Barbara’s TA22 class: Persuasive Communications – it was the kind of class you had to get on the wait list for during your freshman year, go through shopping period, AND then see if you got selected to be in it. Fast forward to Spring 2010 and I made it into the class! I have to say the lessons I learned from Barbara are some of the most ingrained in my mind — if you cross your legs it will give you varicose veins, women need to take up space, speak affirmatively, watch your UMs, etc.
However, because what I do a lot of now is writing – social media & copy – a list of words that we all need to ditch when we write and speak is constantly running through my mind. As we kick off a new year, I think it’s always a good time to be reminded of what these words are & why:
- um, eh, like, etc – We all have a filler word when we speak. Figure out what yours is, be aware of it, and cut it out of your speaking.
- Could, would, should – there are times and places for these words, but not when they demise what you are saying or doing.
- Just – ” I just wanted to ask” – Forget the just, don’t diminish what you need to say, SAY IT!
- Very and really – You don’t need to ditch intensifiers like this all the time, but be more aware of when you use them. If you use them too frequently, it will undermine their meaning when you actually need them.
- Things/stuff – filler words. Find the right word instead.
- GUYS – this is probably the worst offender to me. Why? Because I hate when someone sends an email/message with “Hey Guys” and half the addressees are women. Use “hey all” or “ladies and gentlemen” or whatever phrase tickles your fancy, but don’t automatically segregate the people you’re writing to by [subconsciously] singling out part of the group
While I’m sure there are more, the main point is this: when you’re writing or speaking, make it affirmative.
What are the words you need to eliminate from your vocabulary?