Are you a victim of Weak Speak? Do your words betray you?
If you ever wondered why your employees don’t follow your lead or why your ideas are never accepted, here’s a thought. You may be telling people that your ideas aren’t important. It’s not enough to have confident body language and a strong voice if your words are wimpy.
You are minimizing yourself when you say, “This is just a thought,” “I’m only a beginner,” “I’d like to make a suggestion,”
Wimpy words such as if, hopefully, suggest, feel, might, sort of, kind of, I think, weaken your conviction. Imagine a sales person saying,
“Hopefully, I’ve shown you that if you buy from us you might be able to increase your income.” The potential buyer will walk away when hearing this type of message. The real message is “Don’t buy from me. I don’t believe what I’m saying.”
Weak speak consists of tag lines, wimpy words, jargon, apologies, minimizers, colorless words, and sloppy speech.
Here’s what you can do:
Taglines. Eliminate them. Tag lines are added to the end of a statement.. Phrases such as “Don’t you think?” “Isn’t it?” “Right?” will sound like you are asking permission.
Wimpy words. Substitute power words instead.
I feel I know
I believe I’m confident
If When, By
Sort of It is
Might Will, Definitely
Jargon. Spell it out. When adding buzz words or acronyms to your presentation, you risk losing part or all of the audience. Define terms and don’t assume they understand your verbal shorthand.
Apologies. Skip them. Don’t apologize or put yourself down.. Excessive use of the word “sorry” will make you sound weak.
Minimizers. Delete them. Using “just” and “only” will tell the listener you are less than something. Don’t minimize yourself or your message.
Colorless words. Paint a word picture. You won’t move people to action if your words are dry. Pepper your talk with metaphors, analogies, and alliteration.
Sloppy speech. Speak slowly and carefully. Mumbling, mispronunciations, and slurred speech create a negative impression and are difficult to understand. Tape yourself and practice sentence drills.
Tune in and listen to your language. By transforming your words you’ll increase your credibility, take charge, and sell your ideas.
Copyright Diane DiResta 2000. All rights reserved.