Umm, You Know How, Like, People Talk Sometimes?

The Naked Truth about Giving Great Speeches, one of Karen’s books, reveals the top 22 communication traps and the related fix-its that will benefit you regardless of how often you stand up to give a presentation.

Read this short excerpt about verbal clutter.

TRAP #20

Saying “you know” often for emphasis

FIX-IT TIP

Reduce verbal clutter.

Put this book aside, and join the conversation by the water cooler, listen to a reality talk show, or talk to someone on the phone. In these various places, listen for the “you knows“, “likes“, ums“, “ughs“, and the “and ums“. We are experiencing a verbal clutter epidemic. You may be saying “you know” at the beginning and end of every phrase and you don’t even realize it! All of this clutter is diminishing your strength as a communicator.

To decrease your ever-present clutter, you must first become aware of the problem. Listen to yourself talk. Put on your “demolish verbal clutter” hat every time you open your mouth. Think verbal clarity, and then begin to talk. Make this an active, rather than a passive activity.

FIX-IT IDEA: In place of verbal clutter, try adding a pause. Pauses are powerful. Your listeners will listen with keener ears when you’ve added some oral white space.

Once you’ve succeeded in eradicating this clutter, you can promote yourself to my “advanced verbal clutter reduction” program, which involves getting rid of overused words and phrases. How often do you say “basically“, “clearly“, “honestly“, “truly“, “I think“, “do you know what I mean?“, “the bottom line“, “am I making sense?“, and “at the end of the day“? Again, listen to yourself and monitor these words and other repetitive words/phrases/clichés.

Why do you say “honestly” and “truly“? These words don’t accentuate your point. In fact using these words may cause your listener to wonder if everything else you say is not honest and not truthful. Another huge pitfall is beginning each sentence with “I think“. Since the words are flowing out of your mouth we know they are your thoughts. Get rid of the “I thinks”, and you’ll gain credibility.

Less and More

In order to stay in control of chaos — in your practice and anywhere in your life — follow the maxim of “less is more.”

Here are a list of “less is more-isms” guaranteed to help you communicate, lead, and manage with greater finesse.

Less clutter, more clarity

It’s amazing how much we say that is not necessary. Count up the words like “you know,” and the phrases like “to be perfectly honest with you” (is everything else you say not honest?), and the fillers like “you know what I’m saying?” Be your own clutter guard! Try to make your intentions clearer by deleting the extraneous ‘uhs’ and ‘ums.’

Less procrastination, more action

I recently attended the National Speakers Association annual convention. One take-away for you — and me — is, “Done is better than perfect.” Perhaps you are postponing a project in your office or at home because it has to be done a certain way. You don’t have to compromise on your ideals. Yet, you will move forward with efficiency when you realize “it” does not have to be perfect. Nothing ever is.

Less talking, more listening

Several years ago, I had the privilege of working with 12 fine dentists in Fergus Falls, Minn. Yes, that’s Minnesota in January! During that day, I could have done all the talking. Yet, the best way to learn is to listen. In a facilitative way, we had a give and take discussion. Using their answers to the initial question, “What do you want to learn more about in the realm of communication skills in your practice?” we strategized and practiced.

Can you think of times when you could be doing less talking and more listening?

Less distraction, more focus

One of my corporate clients had this wise observation: “If you bet money on your golf game, you golf better!”

How can you provide less distraction and more focus in your office? Do your clients get distracted when you do a presentation? Is the room where you hold these meetings filled with stuff on the wall, extra articulators on the table, and a floating screen saver on the computer? After you finish reading this article, go walk around your office. Look with fresh eyes. Get rid of the distractions.

Less razzle dazzle, more simplicity

Did you know that 12 million crayolas are produced annually? The motto of the company that produces them is to ‘keep it simple.” Think about a box of crayons. There aren’t tons of choices. You are provided with some basic primary colors. That’s it.

There was a time, however, when the crayon was not doing well in the marketplace. Fancy chalks and pens seemed to be taking over. Yet, the crayon industry stuck to the program of simplicity and has surpassed its competitors.

As I coach presenters, I beg my clients to limit the fancy visuals with all of the bells and whistles. Give us great visuals and well-defined pictures without the six different fonts and eight different color schemes.

Where can you find more simplicity in your office?

Less answers, more questions

Your customers come into your place of business wanting answers. Yet, you may find out more, serve better, and relate with heightened trust when you ask more questions … and then close your mouth and listen!

When more is more

There are times when more is more. That definitely includes nurturing your close relationships!

Less is More

Nothing is more important than chocolate. If I’m giving a presentation during dessert, dessert wins. Second to the food, nothing is more important than the individuals in the audience. If I follow the installation, the momentum favors the valued leaders. Third, if the golf tournament follows the speech, well, then you know where the focus will be.
All three of these challenges presented themselves as I stood up to give the finale luncheon keynote for AADPA, the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration. It’s a lot of fun to speak at these events. Yet, for these reasons I felt like Elizabeth Taylor’s seventh husband on their wedding night. I knew exactly what to do; I just wasn’t that sure I’d be that compelling and unique!
How do you solve this conundrum? How do you stay focused, do a great job, and maintain the attention of others when faced with a logistical quagmire?
Your solution: LESS IS MORE.
In order to stay in control of chaos – in your practice and anywhere in your life, follow the maxim of “less is more”.
Here are a list of “less is more-isms” guaranteed to help you communicate, lead, and manage with greater finesse.
Less clutter – More clarity
It’s amazing how much we say that is not necessary. Count up the words like “you know”, and the phrases like “to be perfectly honest with you” (is everything else you say NOT honest?), and the fillers like “you know what I’m saying?” Be your own clutter guard. Try to make your intentions clearer by deleting the extraneous ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’.
Less procrastination – More action
I have just returned from my National Speakers Association annual convention. One take away for you, and me, is “Done is better than perfect”. Perhaps you are postponing a project in your office or at home because it has to be done a certain way. You don’t have to compromise on your ideals. Yet, you will move forward with efficiency when you realize “it” does NOT have to be perfect. Nothing ever is.
Less talking – More listening
In January, I had the privilege of working with twelve fine dentists in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Yes, that’s Minnesota in January! (The weather cooperated and the snow-covered farmland radiated with a serene beauty.) During that day I could’ve done all the talking. Yet, the best way to learn is to listen. In a facilitative way, we had a give and take discussion. Using their answers to the initial question, “What do you want to learn more about in the realm of communication skills in your practice?” we strategized and practiced.
Can you think of times when you could be doing less talking and more listening?
Less distraction – More focus
One of my corporate clients had this wise observation, “If you have money bets on your golf game, you golf better!”
How can you provide less distraction and more focus in your office?
Do your clients get distracted when you do a presentation?
Is the room where you hold these meetings filled with stuff on the wall, extra articulators on the table, and a floating screen saver on the computer? After you finish reading this article, go walk around your office. Look with fresh eyes. Get rid of the distractions.
Less razzle dazzle – More simplicity
Did you know that 12 million crayolas are produced annually? Their motto is to ‘keep it simple’. Think about a box of crayons. There aren’t tons of choices. You are provided with some basic primary colors. That’s it.
There was a time, however, when the crayon was not doing well in the marketplace. Fancy chalks and pens seemed to be taking over. Yet, the crayon industry stuck to the program of simplicity and has surpassed its competitors.
As I coach presenters I beg my clients to limit the fancy visuals with all of the bells and whistles. Give us great visuals, well-defined pictures, without the six different fonts, and eight different color schemes.
Where can you find more simplicity in your office?
Less answers – More questions
Your customers come into your store wanting answers. Yet, you may find out more, serve better, and relate with heightened trust when you ask more questions… and then close your mouth and listen.
When More is More
There are times when more is more – when it comes to nurturing your close relationships.
********
Back to that keynote at the AADPA meeting. When I got up to begin this presentation, the audience was eating their dessert, they had just installed their new members and leaders, and the golf game was around the corner. The only thing they hadn’t been able to do was take a much need bathroom break. My speech was a success. I made it shorter. I employed my favorite maxim: “Less is More”.

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