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Avoid The Word “Believe” – Reduces Your Effectiveness

By October 27, 2008 June 24th, 2019 No Comments
scrabble letters, Words to Avoid, Believe

I’m sure many of you are following closely the presidential race. I am particularly interested in how the candidates communicate with words, body language, messaging, and of course stories.

The other day, The New York Times ran an article, “In McCain’s Uphill Battle, Winning Is an Option.” In the article, Senator McCain’s chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, was quoted as saying, “The McCain campaign is roughly in the position where Vice President Gore was running against President Bush one week before the election of 2000. We have ground to make up, but we believe we can make it up.”

The McCain campaign is roughly in the position where Vice President Gore was running against President Bush one week before the election of 2000. We have ground to make up, but we believe we can make it up.

ELIMINATE THE WISHY-WASHY LANGUAGE

Can you spot the wishy-washy language? Hint…there are two spots for counter-productive language.

  1. But. As I have written about before in several blogs and articles, “but” is a destructive word. It negates everything in the sentence that precedes the word but.
  2. Believe. Do not use believe. Say something positive and uplifting. Say something with certainty. Say something like, “we will make it up.” Inspire your audience. Get them behind you. Share your passion for a better tomorrow.

Looking at the definitions applicable to how Mr. Schmidt used believe, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary shares two applicable definitions:

  1. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something
  2. To hold an opinion. THINK I believe so

There is nothing definitive in the word Believe. Believe is a wishy-washy word. Eliminate wishy-washy words such as basically, chiefly, generally, going to, hope, in order to, in other words, in short, possibly, sort of, strive, surely, and usually.

Wishy-washy words reduce your effectiveness when communicating in person, in writing, and online with your stakeholders.

WORDS TO AVOID

Updated February 2019
Photography Source:  Original image from DepositPhotos. New creative image © Copyright 2019, The Chief Storyteller®, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after global speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive communication coach.