Whether talking to a reporter or delivering a presentation, colorful language is recommended (no, not the kind of colorful language George Carlin used to describe the seven magic words).
Rather, the use of anecdotes, analogies, alliteration, and the like helps spice up your media interviews and speeches. Just be careful not to go overboard.
One sure way to get your listeners rolling their eyes at your expense is to employ trite phrases—those sayings we all tend to use, then regret the moment we utter them. I’m not talking about clichés, which have their place when used judiciously. These are expressions that have crept into our lexicon, become shopworn, and now need to be swept away. For example:
- Mission critical: Government contractors need to take the lumps on this one. Ever heard of the word “important?”
- Under the bus: This has been overused to such an extent that we’ve probably run out of buses to plow down everyone who’s been tossed under.
- Boots on the ground: This has now invaded the business world. Stop it. Just stop. “Workers” will do just fine.
- It is what it is: If I hear this one more time, I swear…
- Awesome: If you want to sound like a gum-snapping tweener, be my guest.
- So…: It is mystifying why otherwise intelligent people feel the need to begin every sentence with this meaningless filler word.
- Next level: You’re sick of this one, too? Okay, enough said.
- Thank you for your service: If you want to honor people for good work, fine. But can we please get a little more creative?
- For you and I: Any variation of the wrong article used in a prepositional phrase is like fingernails on a chalk board. Ugh!
- Last but not least: You just knew this one was saved for the end, right?
I may regret this but here goes. Now it’s your turn. Go ahead. Pile on. What trite phrases do you think we should expunge?