Even the most complex ideas can be sufficiently explained using simple terms.
As American founding father, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Never use two words when one will do.” Keeping things short and concise keeps a presentation from rambling and confusing people.
As we’ve discussed previously, the conversational tone works when presenting to an audience. However, our everyday speech doesn’t always translate well into written form.
Avoid using words that may work in everyday situations but not in writing slide content.
Here are ten common filler words to remove from your deck:
You’ve got to stop using “got.” Say it properly: stop using “got.”
See the difference?
The latter sounds more certain, succinct, and direct.
If you just can’t stop, then you’re just not doing it right. Unless you’re not speaking in the context of justice, avoid using “just.” It needlessly lengthens your writing.
This is also sometimes used in combination with “got.”: “You’ve just got to learn proper etiquette.”
Keep it simple. Say “Learn proper etiquette.” instead.
Really? Avoid using “really” in your slides.
It’s okay to use it in everyday conversations when insisting on and emphasizing a point. However, using it in writing makes you sound like you’re trying too hard to convince someone to take your side.
Remove it, and you’ll sound more believable and credible. No, really.
If you’re narrating a sequence of events, then you can use this word.
Readers easily understand that sentences in succession are connected, with or without bullet points. Your flow will remain the same without it.
Nothing reeks of uncertainty more than “maybe.” It works for lightly declining a party invitation…maybe.
Remove it to sound more certain.
It basically doesn’t contribute anything to your sentences, except for one useless adverb to add to your word count.
Even if you mean to imply that the statement is a summary, it still sounds condescending to your audience. You’re implying that they wouldn’t understand what you’re talking about in its non-basic form.
Unless you’re writing a college paper and your professor is strict about word counts, remove it entirely.
The word literally means “without exaggeration or inaccuracy.”
Unfortunately, people use this word when they should be saying “figuratively.” Its use as an intensifier is both totally incorrect and terribly irritating.
If something is what it really is, remove it or use an appropriate adjective instead.
Amazingly, its overuse the main cause of its decline.
Simply saying that something is amazing convinces nobody. It’s in no way superior or even equal to substantial explanation and demonstration of a truly amazing thing.
When you’re talking about things, no one really understands what you’re talking about.
Be specific when writing for your deck. Use a noun that describes a specific object or concept. Otherwise, just remove it.
The difference between stuff and things is minimal, except that stuff is even more general and overused. It’s commonly used to give conversations a warm and informal feel, as if you were speaking with friends.
In a professional setting, it makes you sound like you don’t know what you’re saying. Free yourself of stuff.
Just because they work in everyday life doesn’t mean you should use them in your presentation slides.
Keep your writing style different between speaking and writing to optimize your message’s effectiveness and your audience’s engagement.
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“Literally.” Dictionary.com. Accessed July 02, 2015.
“Why Conversational Tones Work for Corporate Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 7, 2015. Accessed July 02, 2015.
Featured Image: “Writing? Yeah.” by Caleb Roenigk on flickr.com