In the same way that decluttering your house simplifies your life, decluttering your communication simplifies your message. While cleaning out your closets makes room for the important things you need to store, cleaning out unnecessary words and phrases allows more focus on your most important points and infuses it with power.
What is the clutter of communication? Weasel Words. Weasel Words are a dead giveaway that you are nervous or unsure of yourself. They devalue your leadership, curtail your effectiveness and destroy your credibility. Weasel Words come in three forms.
1. Unnecessary Words
When a person is nervious or unsure of what to say, they fill their conversation with unnecessary words like: "I’m gonna go ahead and," "kind of/kinda" and "sort of/sorta." This is done in an attempt to soften their language, appear less demanding or endear themselves to their listeners. What it really does is zap the power and energy out of the speakers integrity, leadership ability and conviction.
"I kind of wanted to talk to you about that
." You kind of
wanted to or you did want to? 'Cuz if you only kind of wanted to, I've got more important things to do right now.
2. Filler Words
Another nervous habit is to fill their conversation with nonwords that take up space and allow them time or the ability to keep control of the conversation until they can think of what else they wanted to say. These non words include: uh, er, like and ya know.
"I...uh...kind of...er...wanted to...like, ya know...talk to you...um...about that
3. Vague Words and Phrases
The last type of Weasel Words are those that couch what you say such that nobody can accuse you of being wrong (or even saying much of anything). If you're afraid of being taken to the mat over a statistic, a quote or a truth, you will probably use words and phrases like: somewhat, most of the time, in most respects, I’ve heard, it’s been said, people/some say, it’s generally known, or it's among the best. The idea is to be as noncomittal as possible in order to cover all your statistical bases.
"I think your child has somewhat of a problem with the truth
." You mean he lies?
Filling your conversation with unnecessary and vague words and phrases doesn't soften your message, it confuses it. Adding filler words and vague phrases may allow you time to think, but it also allows your audience time to become frustrated. Using Weasel Words doesn't endear you to your audience, it only prolongs the time they have to form a weak opinion of you and the point you were trying to make.
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