Communicating professionally involves choosing the right words and knowing how to use those words appropriately. Filler words and profanity are the most serious offenders in the world of business communications.
Using filler words is distracting in a conversation or presentation. Um and uh are the most natural go-to fillers. However, there are a number of others that will leave your listener or reader wondering if you truly know what you are talking about:
- You know
- I mean
- Like I said
- Sort of
If you have limited time to make your point in a verbal conversation or presentation, filler words are a serious waste of that time.
Fillers generally result from not being prepared. When you attend a networking event, be ready with a description of what you do. Practice your introduction as well as answers to potential questions. The conversation will not – and should not – end after your 30-second commercial is delivered.
Wasted and unprofessional words in written communication can be more detrimental to your business efforts, as they tend to be read and re-read by many more viewers than just the original recipient. Of course, profanity is never appropriate in a business situation. Unedited and grammatically incorrect written material will also detract from your image as an expert in your field. If you don’t know how to write a proper sentence, how do your clients gain confidence in your work as a whole?
Professional communications affect every aspect of your business, from making new connections to presenting information to convincing clients you know what you are talking about.
Be prepared, be focused, be professional.