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“If you don’t mind uhm, I just wanted to share some uhm thoughts on our upcoming project and uhm at the same time basically check if we agree on these really important objectives and uhm I’ll try to keep it really short, I hope that’s ok with you…”
How do you as a listener react to a speaker opening like the above? Does s/he sound convincing? Why not? Because it is full of weak language.
Weak language is any word (or sound) that doesn’t add value to your message. But not only does weak language not add value – it dilutes and undermines your message.
To speak with more authority, assertiveness, and clarity, here are some common weak language traps to avoid:
Uhm, basically, yeah, literally, kind of, like..
Filler words pop out or mouth when we don’t know what to say next. We also use them to protect us from the discomfort of silence.
Think before you speak. Pause (your body language needs to show that you are not done yet to stop the audience from interrupting you). Ask a friend or a colleague to be your “filler word police”.
In my opinion.. The way I see it.. I may be wrong .. but.. I would like to.. I just..
To hedge in language is to hide behind words and refuse to commit oneself. Hedges share two defects: they sound as you doubt your own words and they lengthen your sentences unnecessarily.
Trim your hedges down to a minimum. Ask yourself: does the hedge add any information? If not, leave it out. If there is real uncertainty, prefer expressions not using “I”. E.g. “It appears that..”
And, and, and..
Stringing together several sentences by and or but makes it hard for the listeners to get your message. If you often get out of breath when speaking, this might be one of the causes.
Speak in short sentences, emphasizing the key words and ending with a falling inflection. You will have time to breathe and think about your next sentence. The audience will have time to digest what you just said.
Rather, very, quite, usually, generally, more, less, least, so, just, enough, indeed, still, almost, most, fairly, really, pretty much, even, a bit, a little, a great deal.
Often, qualifiers provide unnecessary padding to your message. We qualify too much because we are seeking attention, because we lack precise words to express ourselves, or because we think it sounds better.
Get rid of excess qualifiers: “She came across it pretty much by accident”
Replace generic qualifiers with specific ones: “This sum is a great deal bigger than I expected” becomes “This sum is 50% bigger than I expected.”
A tag is a short question added to the end of a statement.
This is the best proposal, isn’t it? …, don’t you think? …, right? …, you see what I’m saying?
While the sentence preceding the tag is a clear statement of fact, the tag turns it into a question or a doubt.
There are also non-verbal versions of tags: A shoulder shrug, a nervous laughter, or a rising tone at the end of a sentence. Like verbal tags, they indicate doubt, submission or a will to please others.
Simply remove the tag, ending your sentence on a falling inflection and with a confident smile.
Coming back to the introduction example, this is what it sounds like without the weak language:
“If you don’t mind uhm, I just wanted to I will share some uhm thoughts on our upcoming project and uhm at the same time basically check if we agree on these really important the key objectives. and uhm I’ll try to keep it really short., I hope that’s ok with you…”
The message has now gained in clarity and assertiveness – using only half as many words!
As summer is here, now is the perfect time to start weeding your language, trimming your hedges, and nurturing your credibility.
Have a wonderful summer!
Five Weak Words That Make Your Writing Less Effective
I can’t stand frail, weak writing. And neither can you. You know when you’ve read content that compels you to do something that matters and when something bores you to tears. You may just not know exactly why.
And you need to be able to identify those words that weaken your writing so that you can stamp them out of your vocabulary.
Words are the lifeblood of your writing. They’re what you use to build credibility or diminish it.
Words matter. They’re what make your arguments more compelling, your prose stronger, and your craft more captivating.
Untrained writers can be careless with their words. It takes discipline to use these tools well. Here are five lazy words that make your writing weaker and how to fix them:
Stuff is a lazy word. Only use it sparingly when you’re intentionally trying to be informal.
Instead, use a more descriptive noun.
Things is another lazy word. People often overuse it. While not always inappropriate, it also should be used on rare occasions.
Things is nondescript and can often be replaced with much better nouns, such as “reasons” or “elements” or “issues” and so on…
Got is a terrible verb. It means “obtaining something” or can also be used as a helping verb like have. More often than not, got can usually go away.
Instead of saying “I got up”, say “I woke up.”
Instead of saying, “I got a baseball”, say, “I have a baseball” or “I found a baseball.”
Not only is got a lazy word; it is also vague. In the last sentence does “got” mean “found” or “have”?
Often people will say something like, “I was there” or “We were at the party.”
In these cases, the writers are using different versions of the verb to be when they could be employing better action words.
For example, you could instead say, “I stood silently in the kitchen” or “My wife and I arrived late to the party.”
Went is like are. There are a hundred other verbs that you could exchange for went.
Instead of saying, “I went to the store,” you could say, “I walked to the store” or, “I drove my car to buy some groceries at the store.”
Went is a lame word – vague, boring, lackluster.
As are am, got, stuff, and things. Here are a few more words and phrases to use sparingly:
Stop using them in your writing.
Or at very least, think twice before whipping out a simplistic, overused word like are.
Words lose their meaning when we use them carelessly. Take your time, carefully considering how you will utilize the best words possible.
When you write, your copy wields great potential. Don’t squander it.
The Top Power Words And Buzzwords To Use In Your Resume
It’s important to use power words in your resume and cover letters when applying for jobs. Using these words helps demonstrate your strengths and highlights why you are right for the job. Power words also jazz up your job descriptions and make them seem alive, as opposed to flat.
Let’s begin by looking at the types of power words, why they are important, and how to effectively use them.
What Power Words Accomplish
Power words are used for several reasons. First, many hiring managers quickly skim through resumes and cover letters due to the high volume they receive. These power words jump off the page, quickly showing the hiring manager you have the skills and qualifications to get the job done.
Also, most resume language is repetitive and boring. If your language is the same as everyone else’s, it will be hard for you to stand out.
Thoughtful, appropriate word choice will set you apart from the competition.
Finally, power words (especially keywords) are useful when a company uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These tracking systems help screen applications so that employers only need to focus on the top candidates. One way an ATS works is to eliminate resumes that are missing certain keywords.
By including these words, you increase your chances of making it through the ATS and having your application read.
Types of Power Words
The Balance / Melissa Ling
Action verbs: One type of power word is an action verb. This kind of verb shows your ability to succeed. These words demonstrate the skills you have used in previous jobs to achieve success.
Examples of action verbs include “accomplished,” “designed,” ”initiated,” and “supervised.”
Company values: To demonstrate that you are a good fit for the company, use key terms that the company uses to describe itself. You might find this language on the company’s “About Us” web page, or in the job listing. For example, if the company identifies itself as “innovative,” one power word you might incorporate into your resume is “innovate” or “innovative.”
Popular skill words: There are certain skills and qualities that almost every employer is looking for in a job candidate. For example, employers always want an employee who is responsible, passionate, and a strong leader. Try to use this kind of language to demonstrate you have these essential skills.
Keywords: Keywords are words from the job listing that relate to particular skills or other requirements for the job. By embedding them in your resume or cover letter, you will demonstrate, at a glance, that you fit the requirements of the position. Keywords might be “analyzed,” “quantified,” “planned,” “programmed,” “designed,” “taught,” or “trained.”
Industry buzzwords and jargon: Each industry has certain keywords that are important. Knowing and accurately using those words demonstrates you have the necessary hard skills.
Resume buzzwords: You can decode the buzzwords that employers use in job postings, and use them to highlight your relevant skills in your resume.
Sprinkle the appropriate buzzwords into your resume and cover letter to demonstrate that you are a part of the industry. Some common buzzwords are experienced,” “expert,” “skilled,” “facilitated,” “launched,” and “demonstrated.”
How to Use Power Words
You can include power words throughout your resume, including in your job descriptions, resume summary statement, and your cover letter.
Finally, it’s very important that you only use terms you are familiar with.
Power Words for Resumes and Cover Letters
Related: Best Resume Writing Services
700+ Power Words That Will Boost Your Conversions
Do you want to improve your conversions without spending a ton of time testing different designs and layouts? You could see a 12.7% increase in your conversion rates simply by sprinkling a few power words into your copy. In this post, we’ll share a list of 700+ power words that you can cut-and-paste to boost your website conversions.
Exclusive Bonus: Download our 700+ Power Words Cheatsheet to Boost Your Conversions.
What are Power Words?
Power words are words that smart copywriters use to trigger a psychological or emotional response. They’re called “power words” because they are so persuasive that people simply can’t resist being influenced by them!
But power words aren’t just for copywriters. They can be used by any marketer-even inexperienced ones-to motivate people to take a specific action on their website.
In fact, Teespring increased their conversions by 12.7%, just by adding a few power words to their call-to-action!
Are you ready to add some power words to your marketing arsenal? Here are over 700 of them that you can use to trigger just about any emotion, for any conversion goal…
Greed is the natural human tendency to want more stuff than we actually need.
These power words can trigger that tendency by playing on scarcity and loss aversion, or simply by making something sound more valuable.
How to Boost Conversions with Greed Words
Rich Page tested two different headlines on his exit popup. The first headline read, “Is Your Website Optimized for High-Sales? Grab my free conversion toolbox and start succeeding!”
This version converted much better than the first, and with this optimized popup, he was able to increase his signup rate from 12% to 50%!
According to curiosity-drive theory, curiosity is a naturally occurring urge that simply must be satisfied, similar to how we satisfy hunger by eating or thirst by drinking.
These power words will make your blog post headlines, email subject lines and landing page headlines impossible to resist.
How to Boost Conversions with Curiosity Words
Take a look at this example from a thank-you page on Mary Fernandez’s site after someone opts in for their email list.
How many power words can you spot?
Sloth is the avoidance of work: people are not motivated to do more than the absolute minimum work to achieve their online aims.
Use these power words to make your lead magnets sound more digestible, to make your products sound more useful, and to make your headlines more enticing.
Here’s an example of a blog post headline we’ve used that works like gangbusters…
Can you spot all the power words?
Lust is usually thought of as sexual, but it’s actually just an intense desire for any item. When we lust after something, we crave it so badly that we stop thinking rationally.
Use these tantalizing power words to amplify that craving.
List25 uses a lust word combined with curiosity words to make for an irresistibly provocative headline…
You may not think of yourself as “vain”, however, researchers have found that vanity is one of the chief driving forces that lead to purchase decisions.
The fact is, we buy into things because of how we think they will make us look: both to others, and to ourselves. And it’s not just that we want to look good physically, but we also want to look successful.
Use these power words to show how your offer (whether it’s a product, service, or lead magnet) will make your visitor look more attractive and more successful.
Snack Nation uses one carefully chosen power word to increase conversions on their popup…
(Bonus points if you also noticed that the words “without lifting a finger” is a great sloth power phrase, even though we didn’t include it in this list.)
Have you ever stopped to think that trust is really what content and email marketing is all about?
Whether you are writing blog posts, creating signup forms, sending emails, or tweaking your product pages, the real purpose behind all of that is to build trust between the consumer and your brand.
Use these power words to speed up the trust-building process.
In this test at Teespring, the power words “don’t worry” were added in the fine print below the call to action button and tested against a control…
Anger has a huge influence on our perception, reasoning, and decisions. It makes us irrational, which can lead to choices that actually have no bearing on the thing that initially made us angry.
Stirring up the emotion of anger in your visitors and customers is a bad idea, when it is targeted at your company. However, it can also work for you, if the anger is directed at something else.
Think about what makes your prospect angry about your industry. Stir up those emotions with these power words, and then provide the solution.
How to Boost Conversions with Trust Words
Advertisements that use anger have been shown to be highly effective. In a study by researchers from Dartmouth and Cornell, anti-smoking TV commercials that used anger to appeal to the viewer’s emotions were more persuasive than those that used sadness.
This ad from Harley Davidson received a lot of praise for blatantly stating the angry, rebellious thoughts on people’s minds in regard to the economy.
Fear is perhaps the most powerful motivator of all. It’s that primal instinct that keeps us safe, that keeps us alive.
How to Boost Conversions with Anger Words
If you want to inspire your readers to take action-whether that’s sharing your blog post, downloading your lead magnet, or buying your product-use these power words to make them fearful of what might happen if they don’t.
(Just make sure you don’t completely paralyze them with fear: also provide an actionable solution to their problem.)
Jon Morrow, known for his fear-inducing blog posts, uses power words to get his visitors to read and take action.
Here’s an example:
Don’t be a slave to the endless grind of tweaking and testing when you can simply copy the words that the experts use.
Power words are a cinch to implement, and they work like magic. With this complete list, you are now equipped to turbo charge your conversions in record time!
How to Increase Conversions with Fear Words
Exclusive Bonus: Download our 700+ Power Words Cheatsheet to Boost Your Conversions.
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