What’s your first word?
Posted by Presentation Skills on September 16, 2008
What is the first word you say when you speak? Is it …Ummm… …Errr… or ‘Well…’ How does this make you look and sound?
The first word you utter sets the tone for how people will understand and respect your message. Are you being powerful, persuasive or pointless?
Powerful words have a reason to be said. They help convey your message in a way that adds value. They give direction to what you are saying and where you are going. They are often short words in short sentences.
Similarly, persuasive words give a direction as to where your message is going. They invite your listeners along on the journey. Often they are words that have emotional attachments to them.
Pointless words kill your presentation. They should be avoided at all costs. What are pointless words/phrases? They include:
- Um, er and Arr
- Thank you
- Hello (except when greeting in a one-on-one situation)
- What we are going to look at…
- I’d like to tell you…
- Can I ask you a question about…
When you start any message with these type of words, you will lose your power and the respect of your audience. Your message will be diluted and you and your audience wont even know why or how it happened.
Now it’s your turn to listen. For the next two days, listen to the first word people say when they are speaking. This can be on the ‘phone, in a meeting, or in the coffee room. Count how many pointless words you hear and see how it affects your feeling of their message. Then compare that to the powerful or persuasive words that others use.
Let me know how you go.