When addressing an audience, the difference between the right word and the "almost" right word is like the difference between closing a sale or losing it, according to Frank Carillo and Peter Guilano, chairman and founder, respectively, of Englewood, N.J.-based Executive Communications Group, a global communication, consulting and training firm.
What empowers words to be remembered and inspiring? What are the "right" words? According to Carillo and Guilano, anyone can become a better motivator or speaker by removing the wax, using the power and deleting the fuzz.
First, remove the "wax," wax being the word or words that aren't integral to what you want to express. For example, "This is absolutely and positively essential." Say just what you mean, because saying more does not necessarily mean a statement will be more forceful. "This is essential," is a much stronger statement with no wax.
Next, use "power" verbs rather than verbs such as make, take, give and have which are often coupled with nouns: "make a suggestion," "take into consideration," or "give a promotion to." Using these phrases is not nearly as powerful as simply using the verbs suggest, consider, or promote.
Cut the "fuzz," words or phrases that often signal weakness and uncertainty. Instead, make things crisp. "It seems to me" or "Of course, it's only my opinion" are phrases that make communication fuzzy. Don't say something unless you can say it without fuzz, or the listener will begin to wonder about the credibility of what was said and attention will drop.
Lastly, remember that silence can sometimes be the key to power. Saying nothing or pausing can provide emphasis and tends to suggest importance and credibility. —H.J.