Use “Power Words” in Presentations and Media Interviews

When speakers at a conference and commentators on television begin a sentence with “I think” or “I hope,” it detracts from their expertise. Those are not power words.Power Words

Even well-known experts often start a sentence with tentative phrases. You aren’t invited to speak at a conference or appear on national television for what you think. You’re invited for what you know. You’re the expert.

Lead With Words That Work

Be forceful in stating your point of view. “Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have contributed to the downfall of dictatorships” is powerful. Whereas, “I think that social networks….” We know you get the idea.

Begin with a powerful “grabber” – a statement, a rhetorical question or an anecdote that will immediately get the audience’s attention. Here’s an example, “Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are sure to contribute to the fall of more dictatorships. Here’s why.” Can’t you just see the audience leaning in to learn more?

Avoid Tentative Words

These words are fillers. They make a speaker seem tentative:

“I’m going to talk about…”
“My topic is…”
“I’ve been asked to…”
“I believe…”
“It seems to me that…”

Do Use Power Words and Phrases

“I’m convinced…”
“There’s no question that…”
“No doubt…”
“You will change your attitude forever about…”

Words That Lived On

Celebrated speakers do not use waffle words in their speeches.

Think of Martin Luther King who proclaimed,

I have a dream…”

He didn’t say, “I’d like to tell you about my dream.”

John F. Kennedy stated,

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

It was a powerful call to action. He didn’t say, “I’d like to ask for your help.”

Winston Churchill hit the mark when he said,

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

To be perceived as an expert, follow Churchill’s advice and give a tremendous whack to useless words and get right to the point.

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