Are You Preparing An Important Presentation? Be Sure To Avoid Filler Frankenspeak

Posted on November 18 2011 by Lina Arseneault

Presentation coaches abound, everyone has a favorite.  Mine is Jerry Weissman, founder of Power Presentations, Ltd.   Without question, I rank my training with Jerry as being my highest ROI career development investment.  I took the Core Program (The Art and Science of Powerful Presentations) which is a comprehensive 3 day format for no more than 4 people.

I value Jerry’s experience and attention to detail for effective communication.  In this Harvard Business Review blog post, Jerry discusses the importance of avoiding filler language in presentations.  Filler words are short phrases or questions that have been used and abused to the point of diminishing your connection with your audience.  Examples include:

  • Does that make sense?
  • Like I said …
  • You know … 

Every time I hear a presenter say “you know …” I can’t help but smile and recall a Golf Channel interview with Michelle Wei.  It was comical how she managed to say “you know …” multiple times in the span of 30 seconds.  My hope for Michelle is that she now has a presentation coach as well as a golf coach.

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As for filler words, they are the first cousins of frankenspeakFrankenspeak describes language that doesn’t sound like it was penned by a human.  In their book Content Rules, Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman coined the frankenspeak concept.  Check-out this humorous MarketingProfs clip (2:14) called Frankenspeak Friday.  It manages to say all the words we overuse and that say nothing.

My filler sins include “actually” and “basically”.  As for frankenspeak, I’m guilty of abusing “win-win” and “leverage”.  What filler frankenspeak will you avoid in your next presentation?

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Comments

  1. Bring you back to reality and make you think….I’m guilty too…my main filler is “you know” as for frankenspeak mine is “synergy”.
    I will at least try to limit the use of it.

  2. Like your blog!
    On this one, fair enough in a native-speaking environment; however, in a different setting (southern Europe, Asia come to mind), the simpler the vocabulary, the better for making yourself clearly understood–like, you know… win-win 🙂 Ou alors on parle français ?

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