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Fun Fact #22: Crutch Words.

What are crutch words?

Crutch words are words we use, often times repeatedly, when there is a gap in our thought process whether speaking or writing. Crutch words afford the speaker or writer with an opportunity to breathe or think for a moment. Some examples are:

  • Really
  • Honestly
  • Um
  • Okay
  • Like
  • So
  • Seriously
  • Literally
  • Look
  • I mean, well, maybe, and I guess

I don’t use crutch words!

I hate to tell you, but we all do. You may not subscribe to the list above, but you most likely have your own arsenal of crutch words or phrases. I once managed a sales person who used the phrase, “to be honest with you” in every presentation and discussion. He even typed it in his proposals! When addressing this issue with him, he said to me, “to be honest with you, I don’t even know when I am doing it.”  Yes, I know.

How do I stop using crutch or filler words?

Practice makes perfect. If you are asked to make a speech or take part in a presentation, practice, and tape yourself. Listen to your speech and be cognizant of the timing, the wording, and the creep of crutch words. If you are new to the game, there may be a few “um” mentions and a “so” here or there. That’s understandable, but let’s work on it.

If it is prevalent in your writing, ask for someone to proofread for you. You can also read it aloud and you may become aware of these words in your writing pieces.

It’s ok, practice it again, and again, and don’t be afraid to ask for help with it. You can master this once you are you are aware of it.

Sometimes more isn’t better, it’s just more.

The use of some crutch words can lessen and diminish the impact and value of the information that follows.

“Well, the final reviews on our new program are in.”

The word well used here tends to hedge what’s coming next. Is the speaker going to give us bad news?

Just say it. “We have the final reviews on our new program.” Wow, that sounds much better!

You don’t need to add more when you write or speak.

So, honestly, let me literally tell you that, I mean, its okay, seriously, not to use crutch words.

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