Powerful language enhances your sense of presence and the belief that your message is incisive, important, and worth the participants' time and efforts to listen to it. Weak language lessens your sense of presence and engenders a belief that both you and your message are not worth listening to. Consider the following situation where a male university student wants to invite a female student on a date. Imagine him saying, "I wonder if you might possibly consider going to the movies with me on Saturday night, but I know you are very popular, so if you wanted to tell me at the last minute that would be all right too." Such weak language would probably produce a less-than-favorable outcome.
Likewise, using too many qualifiers in a presentation makes the speaker look unsure and uncertain. The audience will quickly assume that the speaker is neither worth listening to nor worthy of its attention.
For example, saying, "I guess what I'm trying to say is…" or, "I would like to share with you an opportunity I think we have…" puts the speaker in a position of weakness. On the other hand, if the presenter says to an audience of salespersons, "Would you like to learn a proven method that will help you close 10 percent more sales?" the presenter would have their full and undivided attention.
Another word that is often used in a weak context is the word hopefully. Being told that today's presenter is here to hopefully motivate the troops, sounds as though the speaker is speaking from a position of weakness. Imagine a cardiac heart surgeon about to do a double bypass on a patient saying, "Hopefully today's operation will go well." Most people would look for a new surgeon. If a presenter uses weak language, most audiences will soon look for a new presenter.EXERCISE 4-2
Are there weak words or phrases that suck the life out of your presentations? Is there more powerful language you could use in its place?