It’s challenging to plan for business presentations. You need to sound credible while still sounding persuasive and approachable. You must adapt to effectively communicate with your diverse audience.
In our desire to find a middle ground for these opposing needs, we commit mistakes that do more harm than good for our presentations. Whenever you mean business, omit the following words or phrases from your pitches:
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Jargon are words or phrases that only make sense to particular groups of people. Though these can make you sound like an expert in your field, audiences who aren’t as familiar with your terms might not understand you.
For example, not everyone might know what the acronym WYSIWYG stands for. Only a few may know that it means: “What you see is what you get.”
According to MySay’s Max Mallet, Brett Nelson, and Christ Steiner, jargon masks real meaning. Using industry-specific terms doesn’t automatically exude competence. Use only the simplest words to clearly convey your message.
People copy whatever works, which results in clichés.
These tired metaphors are lazy and distracting.
For example: “At the end of the day, we go the extra mile to give you our 110% because we think out of the box as proven by of our track record for success.” might sound overloaded and overused.
Clichés sound inappropriate and insincere. Instead of stalling with these filler terms, get straight to the point and say what you mean. But that doesn’t mean your presentation has to be plain. Spice up your pitch in other ways, like inserting a good anecdote or a personal story that’s related to your topic.
Never underestimate the value of keeping things simple. Big and intimidating words don’t automatically make you sound important and clever.
They actually show that you’re compensating for incomplete data. Worse, you might look arrogant and pretentious, causing audiences to promptly tune out.
A few of these terms include “Recycled human refuse”, which is simply “garbage”, and “performance-based compensation package” which are just “bonuses.”
Focus on expounding on what matters in your pitch instead, and make sure to explain it in terms that you understand enough to talk about. Chances are if you’re not sure about what you’re saying, your audience won’t get it either.
Your goal is always to effectively communicate with your audience. You can’t achieve this by using clichés and jargon, which only obscure your meaning rather than clarify it.
Watch out for these common mistakes and constantly practice to wean them out of your personal language.
End these habits before they become a major hindrance to your presentations.
“Presentation Success: The Top Ten Clichés to Avoid.” Presentation Magazine. Accessed May 13, 2015.
Mallet, Max. Brett Nelson, and Chris Steiner. “The Most Annoying, Pretentious And Useless Business Jargon.” Forbes. January 26, 2012. Accessed May 13, 2015.
“Why Simplicity Wins When It Comes to PowerPoint Slides.” SlideGenius, Inc. January 07, 2015. Accessed May 13, 2015.