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Sam Davidson's blog

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What Not To Say

I'm keynoting the National School Foundation Association annual conference in just a few hours, which means I'm in the review stage of getting my speech in order (I'll detail my talk prep process in a future post). But, when it's nearly go time, I like to remind myself of things not to say. In addition to making sure I get rid of the "ums", I also avoid the following phrases. Each is useless and sloppy. You should definitely get rid of these when you speak on stage. If you also eliminate them from everyday use, then bonus points to you.

Things you should never say in a speech:

  • At the end of the day - This is a needless phrase that takes up time and space. If you need a transition, just say "In conclusion..."
  • All in all - When you string these three words together, you're not saying anything. Try it. Use it in a phrase and then use the phrase without. Did you enhance anything?
  • It goes without saying - Then you shouldn't be saying it.
  • One thing led to another - One thing always leads to another. That's how life works. If something is this obvious, you don't have to point it out to your audience so blatantly.
  • To make a long story short - In the history of words, everyone who has said this has done so once their story was already too long. If you find yourself using this phrase, stop talking because chances are good that your listeners have already checked out.
  • It is what it is - Of course it is. It can't be what it isn't. That would defy the logic of physics. It always is what it is, Captain Obvious.

Watch your language the next time you speak and get rid of these lazy cliches to sound more professional and polished.

What else doesn't need to be said ?

What would you add to this list? What lazy or overused phrases need to go?