Hook_Choice_WordsWhen I first started lecturing, my manager would notate how many times I used the word ‘um,’ ‘and’ or some other filler. I didn’t believe her when she told me I was upwards of 30 ‘ums’ in a one-hour speech. At my next lecture, I began to hear myself use the fillers. As my transitions and key points concretized, the fillers vanished from my speech.

At a recent international conference in Chicago where I knew there would be several potential referrals, I had one hour to give an audience the best of what I’ve got. Every sentence was crafted. Pacing and timing had to be impeccable. An attendee wrote in an email to me, ‘I was amazed at your ability to perform flawlessly.’ He felt the impact of filling sentences with words to create images and ignite emotion.

Hook audiences with choice words and eliminate these fifteen words from all presentations:

    • That
    • Went
    • Obviously
    • Absolutely
    • Very
    • Really (Really?)
    • Amazing (So overused!)
    • Always
    • Never
    • Literally
    • Just
    • Maybe
    • Stuff
    • Irregardless (This isn’t a word. It’s ‘regardless’)

What words would you add to this list?

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