Kathy and Ross Petras, brother-and-sister co-authors of “Awkord Moments” share some wise adds and deletes to your often-used phrases that will increase your executive presence.
Phrases NOT to say!
“For what it’s worth.” Replace with nothing. If it’s not worth saying you would not say it at all. Please.
“If you know what I mean.” Replace with nothing. You already know what you mean because you are saying what you mean!
“In my opinion.” Replace with nothing. It is your opinion!
“Needless to say.” Self-explanatory here. Stop saying this phrase!
Phrases that need a quick fix
❌ Weak: “I think this would”
✅ Strong: “I believe this would”
➜ Tip – Changing “think” to “believe” is a tiny tweak with a huge payoff.
❌ Weak: “I just wanted to touch base”
✅ Strong: “I wanted to touch base”
➜ Tip – delete the word “just”. Sounds apologetic.
❌ Weak: “Sorry”
✅ Strong: “Excuse me”
➜ Tip – Save apologies for when you need to own up for something you’ve done wrong. Use “excuse me” when your grocery cart runs into someone else’s cart, ETC. Kathy and Ross Petras ask, “Why say ‘Sorry to bother you,’ when a simple ‘Excuse me’ is shorter, snappier and less self-deprecating?”
Swap or delete these phrases to convey more executive presence, for what it’s worth.
“You have a superpower that you might not know about: the power to make another person glow,” reports Stephanie Harrison, happiness and well-being expert, in a study she conducted.
Her study finds that we underestimate how happy someone feels after recognition.
3 phrases that pack a positive punch
“You are making a difference.”
Don’t think, “That’s cheesy.”
Do ask yourself, “How can I encourage others in micro or macro ways?”
“Did you see how that team leader proudly walked out with a huge smile? You are making a difference.”
“The money you raised at our silent auction will help fund our museum awareness campaign. You are making a difference.”
“You inspire me.”
Ask yourself, “Who has inspired me lately?”
Harrison provides this helpful script:
“You inspire me …”
Then add the reason why: “… in the way you show up for your team…”
Finally, share the impact it has had: “… and it’s made me think about how I can be more collaborative.”
Barbara Franklin’s Art Show
“Barbara, you inspire me. You’ve embraced your passion as an artist and now you’re exhibiting at art shows. It makes me think about how I can continue to sharpen and share my passion for speaking.”
“Tell me more about that.”
Disclaimer: It’s one of my favorite phrases that I’ve blogged about before. Saying these words make you a better listener which makes you a better communicator.
Harrison adds, “Being listened to helps people feel safe, supported and acknowledged. One thing that’s guaranteed to make someone’s day: asking them to tell you more about their interests, feelings and experiences.”
To create space for others to open up Harrison suggests:
Find out what is important to them: “What do you do that’s meaningful to you?
Ask them to elaborate on their experience: “What did it feel like when you heard you’d won the deal?”
Invite them to go deeper: “Tell me more about how you interpreted that feedback.”
Emerging from the pandemic might create socially awkward moments. Use these phrases to ease your anxiety and increase your authentic conversational good will with others.
Harrison shows, “There’s a bonus in store for you: It doesn’t just make the other person glow; it ends up making you glow, too.”
The trailblazer of interviewing, who won 12 Emmy awards over a 5-decade career, teaches us 3 master lessons on how to leverage any conversation to your advantage.
“Barbara Walters’s superpower was fairness”, writes Matt Zoller Seitz (critic & writer for Vulture and New York). He continues, “Her subjects trusted her to give them as fair a shake as she could, even if she disapproved of what they did, said, or stood for.”
She exemplified an open mind and the ability to listen to the nuance of any situation.
“Barbara Walters, in my estimation, really has the quality of reaching through to the person,” Mike Wallace said. “She will put the person sufficiently at ease and it’s a remarkable gift.”
Looking at her interviews from every U.S. president and first lady from the Nixons to the Obamas to a wide range of celebrities and sports figures she creates rapport through her content and delivery.
They said yes to her when they wouldn’t say yes to anyone else because they liked the atmosphere Walters created onscreen.
Trust requires these three components working together: trust in yourself, trust in the process, and do your homework.
Walters nails this triad. And THEN she goes after the tough questions!
Excerpt from a Walters’ interview, “You’re a New York Times best-selling author, you’re an accomplished and celebrated concert pianist, and a three-time Academy Award–winning actor. Why the porn?’”
Ok – she also plays into the subject’s ego. She usually gave three compliments, and then went in for the kill.
Barbara Walters, who died recently at the age of 93, left a legacy about how to set the stage for a meaningful dialogue.
Even CEOs and veteran presenters commit these presentation skills’ crimes!
COMMUNICATION MISTAKE #1: Misunderstanding audience expectations.
Don’t be the team that works only on presenting your solutions to the client or prospect. Be the group that gathers this intel first:
Where is prospect pain? What makes them tick? What are they good at? Who competes with them? Where can they improve? What defines success for them? How knowledgeable are they about your topic? Experience range?
COMMUNICATION MISTAKE #2: Memorizing your speech.
Don’t commit your speech to memory. Just know how you will start and how you will end.