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.
- 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.
- 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:
- To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something
- 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
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