Writing Tip#1: Eliminate Unnecessary Filler Phrases

I was watching the Golden Globes on TV yesterday and couldn’t believe how many winners used the popular filler phrase “I just wanna say..” or “All I wanna say is…” during their speeches. These ‘crutch’ phrases are unnecessary and undermine your credibility.

Other filler phrases that people often use (especially in their emails) include “I was writing to…” or “I just wanted to…”. One of the most important aspects of good writing is brevity. Use as few words as possible to express yourself. For example:

Rather than writing “I just wanted to see how you were doing.” say “How are you doing?”.

Inside of “I was writing to ask if you are looking for more committee members.” write “Are you looking for more committee members?”.

In my experience women are particularly guilty of using these phrases in their business communication to ‘soften’ the tone of their writing. What do you think? Write and tell me.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Writing Tip#1: Eliminate Unnecessary Filler Phrases

  1. I gotta say, that’s some good advice.

  2. SF

    You’re right – I’m so guilty of that! Note to self: get to the point already!

  3. Pingback: My Vancouver Life Blog: 2010 In Review « My Vancouver Life

  4. Paul

    How can one most effectively go about purging crutch phrases from their everyday speech? Our CEO is the King of Crutch Phrases. His two favorites are “I guess what I’m saying is . . .” and “Let me put it this way.” The latter crutch comes out of his mouth so quickly it sounds more like “Lempud thisway.” In the course of a five minute conversation, he repeats these phrases at least 50 times. It’s to the point where we all ignore what he’s trying to say and, instead, keep a written tally of the offending phrase and compare notes afterward to determine how many times he repeated these phrases during a given meeting. How can we gently inform him that this is driving us (and customers, too) absolutely crazy?

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