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Lesson 9 – The right words (and the dangerous ones you shouldn’t use – ever!)

Lesson 9 – The right words (and the dangerous ones you shouldn’t use – ever!)

As a speaker who has often learnt the hard way I want to save you from the embarrassment, the lack of professionalism and the mistakes I’ve made. As a speaker you need to learn;

  • The things your audiences are going to love to hear.
  • The things that will make your audiences feel uncomfortable (and not in “I’m going to make changes way”!)
  • The things that make your audience cringe.
  • The words that connect with your audience.

Let’s keep this simple so you can remember to do this every time. Below is a list of phrases and sentences I hear people say on  the right under “The Dangerous Words” column and a list of words  under “The right words” that are far better to say for many reasons. See if you spot any (or feel you are guilty of any!)

The right words The dangerous words
I’m really excited to tell you about the results a new client shared with me… This is a bit boring I’m afraid.
It’s not always easy for us to take this kind of information on board, however we feel so much better when we know X is sorted I know you don’t want to hear about this.

(Don’t second guess what your audience is thinking, you will get their backs up and you will lose them before you even get to finish your sentence)

Anything! Just prepare something! And research who might be in the room and what matters to them. I’ve not prepared anything for today.(Always prepare something, this makes you look like you are not an expert in your field)
I would like to share some ideas that have worked for people like you… You have to do this.
We believe at X to always use state of the art ideas and be prepared to invest to ensure our customers get the very best service… X Company do this and it’s such a mistake to make, we can’t believe people in our industry still do this, it’s antiquated and doesn’t even work.
With us we know it’s not just about price, customers come back because of X.

(You can be challenging with comments like “If you only care about price maybe we won’t be the best for you, because our customers know it’s about the overall results, service and impact we have that makes every penny worth it.”

(Don’t bad mouth the competition. It makes people uncomfortable.)

Our competitors over charge, we wouldn’t do that to you.
Not everyone appreciates the need to do X… I looked at them and thought, “What an idiot.”
Swear words are becoming more accepted, however different generations and industries have different attitudes to this . If in doubt, leave it out. Any swear words.
You can use other people’s tonality if it will enable you to connect with your audience because they are so very similar to you. However be cautious about ensuring you are utilising your family’s jokey style of communication and not your own professional style – unless of course you wish to be associated with that! Your children’s or home life slang vocabulary.
Sales talk, doesn’t sell.Statistics. Case studies. Testimonials do. Can you believe there could be such a great offer, well we think so…
I repeat, sales talk does not sell. Ever believed a single Summer Sale, Christmas special offer? This is a sale like no other.
I love sharing how this works! Everyone needs it, no one wants it, tough.

So how many did you spot and cringe at?

How many did you recognise from your speaking engagements?

Don’t panic if you do notice some of these in your presentation style. By recognising what is wrong (or not the best possible way to communicate) you can address it. (You can’t fix something you don’t know exists!)

Hopefully I’m getting across here that positivity, passion and caring comes across.


  • What language do your new customers/leads use when they first contact you?
  • What do existing customers say about you?
  • Why do existing customers work with you?
  • What language does the person you are wishing to impact on use?
  • What terminology do they choose to use?


By lesson 9 you should be structuring your speaking engagements and practising every aspect of the lessons you’ve worked on so far. Considering your current performance do you feel you are at risk of using any dangerous words?

Do you appreciate the language that engages the most effectively with your target audience?

What emotions are you looking to elicit from your audiences? What words would that include?

Do you feel brave enough to ask for some feedback on your performance?

(This is scary to do however if you don’t do it then you won’t know if people genuinely liked it and found it beneficial and useful or if they were just being nice.)

  • August 21, 2018