Words To Avoid In Business Communication


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Ten words are particularly damaging for business leaders. These words diminish the value of your message and they hurt your credibility.

That is the reason I tell my clients to avoid using those words at all costs.

Most people do not give their vocabulary much thought. But when you understand the negative psychological impact of these words, you will never want to use them again.

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Here is the transcript from this episode of Four Minute Fixation:

Words Every Business Leader Must Avoid

What ten words could blow your next big deal? Join me now and we’ll find out.

Hi it’s Dave Lorenzo and today we’re fixated on the language you use when you speak and when you write. I’m going to show you ten words that you should always leave out when you’re speaking or when you’re writing because these ten words will hurt your credibility. They may not hurt your credibility on a conscious or overt level, but when people read these words or they hear them, these ten words automatically take you down a notch in the mind of your reader or your listener.

Word number one is the word just. Whenever you use the word just to qualify something, it harms your credibility because it takes away from the words that immediately follow. If you’re saying, “I just want to make one quick point” you’re saying you only want to make one point that matters. Leave the word just out every single time. There’s no reason for it.

Number two. Honestly. Never, ever, ever use the word honestly. When you say to someone “Honestly this is not a good deal” it means everything else you’ve said is not honest. Whenever you use the word honestly or to be honest with you, whenever you say to be honest with you or can I be honest with you, you’re disqualifying everything else you say as being dishonest.

The third one. My opinion. Whenever you state something that’s not verifiable, it is your opinion. There’s no need to qualify it by saying my opinion. Or when people write in my humble opinion. Your opinion is just as good as anyone else’s all the time. Never, ever diminish what you have to say by saying in my opinion.

Really. The word really. Unnecessary. It is always, absolutely always unnecessary. “I really want to make this point.” You make your point. Don’t say you really want to make your point. It’s an unnecessary word. Again, it makes you sound needy. It makes you sound like you have less credibility because you’re struggling to make the point. “I really want to make the point.” No. Leave it out.

In this column, the fifth word, the final word, very. This is a lazy word. You use very when you can’t think of something else to modify the word that follows it. “This is very important.” No something’s either important or it’s not. Very has no place being in there. Leave it out. When you make your point succinctly without using a word like very, your meaning is conveyed directly and in a crystal clear fashion.

The word don’t. Anytime you tell someone not to do something using a contraction like the word don’t, what they actually hear subconsciously, is do it. They really do hear the word that you don’t want them to hear. If you say to a kid “Don’t pick up that bowl because it could break” what do they hear subconsciously? Pick up the bowl. If you say to someone don’t do this, you’re immediately drawing attention to what you want them not to do. Rather than doing that, focus on the affirmative, focus on the positive. Instead of saying “Don’t pick up that bowl off the table because it could break”, what you should say is “That bowl is very important, let’s pay attention to it.”

Basically. If you say to someone “Basically this is what I want you to do” or “The point I want to make basically is” again you’re disqualifying everything else that preceded it and everything else that comes immediately after it. You’re diminishing the power of your conversation by saying the word basically.

Unique. Using the word unique is- it’s redundant. If something is unique, that means that it should be apparent that it is one of a kind. You shouldn’t have to say something is unique, it should just be apparent that it’s unique.

Actually. If something is actually true, then everything else is not true. If something is actually true, then the statement you made right before it may not be. Again, you’re diminishing the power of your language when you use these words.

Finally, literally. I hear people say this all the time. “This is literally what has to happen.” We don’t know, in society today, we don’t know how to use the word literally correctly. The word literally means as it is written. The word literally means verbatim. It should never, ever be used because the tendency to misuse it is much greater than the tendency to use it properly.

These ten words are so impactful in a negative way that I would encourage you to strike them from your vocabulary right now today. Forget about these ten words for the purposes of communicating in writing or for communicating in a speech. They diminish the impact and the power of what you have to say.

Just, honestly, my opinion, really, very, don’t, basically, unique, actually, and literally. Strike them from your memory, get rid of them, because they definitely hurt your ability to make a powerful point and communicate with style and substance.

I’m Dave Lorenzo and I’m fixated on helping you communicate in a powerful way.

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