The words we use.

How many of us find ourselves speaking longer than we should?  Saying one too many things to try to make a point but ending up confusing the audience? I’m guilty.

I remember a lesson learned from a long time ago.  A client would not talk purposely so that I (and others) will add filler words to break the silence.  Five seconds of silence can be an eternity.  And, without a doubt, I or others would inevitably say something that changed the conversation flow and possibly the client’s answer.  When I finally realized what the client was doing, we laughed about it and we got the decision-making process to become more efficient for everyone and developed an even strong relationship with the client.

Because of this earlier career lesson, I still listen for “wasted words.”

Definition of Wasted Words

Words or phrases used to help compensate for an assumed lack of clarity.  This happens when words or phrases that are not connected to what comes before or after the important words or phrases.  And, it results in either confusion, wasted time and/or altering the intent of what was meant to be heard.

This applies to both what you say and what you write.

If you want what you say or write to be heard or read if you want who you’re talking to, to want to hear more, to open their window to you, you have maybe 30 or 60 seconds or a sentence or two to compel them to pay attention to you.

Don’t waste your words. Or, waste somebody’s time.

Here’s an example:

Back last Valentine’s Day, at a networking group, several people started off with “Happy Valentine’s Day.”  And, some people, replied back with “Happy Valentine’s Day.” That’s 4-5 seconds of time.

Now, one person was a lifestyle coach and talked about putting romance back into the relationship.  That connects.  The others had different messages.  It would be like me saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day… we’re into branding and marketing.”

Now, are these words really wasted?  Well, when we have limited time to get the message right, it’s got to be targeted and compelling. We need to connect.  Not just with what we say but with how we want what we say or what we write to resonate.

We don’t have time for wasted words.

Several quick-reads to consider:

•  From Forbes: Be crisp, clear and concise. Edit yourself, keep it short. Hit the headline first. Make it about them (your audience).

•  From a blog posted by Tim Ward in Huffington Post: Have a clear communications goal or a message in mind. Speak in short sentences (easier on the brain). Avoid value judgments and negativity. Speak about facts.

•  From the “Principles of Communication” curriculum at University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee: Know your audience. Know your purpose. Communicate a little at a time.

• From us at GrayShitz: Make sure you are saying what your customers need to hear. Do what newscasters or radio hosts do – tease the audience on what to expect. Prepare and practice. Don’t say something on the fly and expect it to resonate.

We so believe in talking about “wasted words” that we host a workshop that includes this plus nine other tips and best practices on how to be or get on point with what you say or write.  Or, contact us for more information.