Weasel Words


Weasel Words are a dead give away that you are nervous or not sure of yourself.  Weasel Words and phrases exhaust you and suck all the power out of your communication.  They zap your leadership, curtail your effectiveness and destroy your credibility.  So what are Weasel Words?

What’s wrong with this picture?

FRED: Ok people, settle down now.  Shhhh…   Ok. I’m gonna go ahead and ask that you all quiet down so we can get some work done here.  I know you are all anxious about our trip, but I’m gonna ask that you all focus now.  Rehearsals start at 6pm and I’d like to ask that each one of you respects, you know, everyone’s time…well, my time…  I’m gonna go ahead and start rehearsals kind of right at 6pm, so…   Ok I’m gonna start now, people.  Uh…folks, we really need to get going if we’re gonna, ya know, get done in time tonight.  Ok now, settle down.  Thank you.  Thanks so much.  Thanks Lou, Annie…  Ok now, I’m gonna go ahead and start now with, um, with Amazing Grace.  Let’s uh, let’s all start from the second measure.”

Weasel Words are extra verbiage used to stall for time or as an attempt to make a request seem more palatable.  What can you tell about Fred?  Fred is simply not coming across as a good leader.  He has no control of the choir and he doesn’t appear to want it.  He doesn’t come across as someone folks would follow nor does he appear to be someone who can handle the demands of leadership.  Fred appears to have a problem asking for what he wants and is uncomfortable in leadership. But what if Fred had said it this way?

FRED: “Thanks for coming everyone. It’s six o’clock so let’s get started.  Let’s take Amazing Grace  from the second measure.”

Do you see how this sounds much more commanding and clear?  And Fred isn’t tired from working so hard to get everyone quiet.  Further, Fred’s mouth isn’t tired from formulating all those extra words.  Best of all, Fred is actually much more effective as a communicator and a leader.

Get those Weasel Words (and phrases) out of your vocabulary so you can speak softly and carry a commanding choir conductor’s stick.

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JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer.  Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula.  You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com.  For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com