Sunday, November 4, 2012

“Well, basically”, “As you can see” and other worn out filler phrases

Watching a video recording of your speech will help catch unintended filler phrases. A common one is opening sentences with:

“Well, basically...”

Back in 2001 Stuart Vail lamented that it had become the speech crutch of the 90s. Forty years ago there was a Monty Python comedy sketch with John Cleese portraying the chairman of the British Well Basically Club.  

On October 27th at his excellent Business School Presenting web site Professor Stanley K. Ridgely discussed A Horrid Presentation Pathology - clicking on a cluttered PowerPoint slide and then glibly proclaiming:

“As you can see”

when the audience can’t really see what the presenter had in mind at all. Sometimes the  slide contains part of an Excel spreadsheet, or even an entire barely legible spreadsheet. That presenter might have needed ten minutes to discern patterns in that data, which he now assumes his audience can recognize instantly.  

On January 24th I blogged about a list of 46 Tired old phrases to use nevermore from back in 1915. It included two common ones still used by politicians:

“I point with pride” and “We view with alarm”

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