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Cliche Remarks that Go Nowhere in Conversation

Cliche Remarks that Go Nowhere in Conversation

It’s no secret that people overuse cliches. If these phrases weren’t overused, they wouldn’t be cliches, would they? When these phrases are used, though, the speaker’s lack of personality, originality, and interest shines right through. They might as well hold up a sign that says “I don’t care enough about this conversation to come up with something personable to say!” I’m not saying this is always the case, but you should always take care not to say any of the following in order to avoid annoying or insulting the person you’re speaking with.

1. “At the end of the day…”

People throw this around as if to say “regardless of everything else you just said, what I’m about to say is the only thing that matters.” It doesn’t matter how valid the other person’s point is; it’s not being taken into consideration. Using this cliche shows a lack of critical thinking skills, and that the speaker only thinks in terms of black and white. “At the end of the day, [arbitrary decision] must be done, no questions asked.” Why not? Are you afraid someone actually might bring up a good idea that you won’t be able to refute?

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2. “I know what you mean…”

Do you really? Granted, this is usually used by those who have been doing whatever they can do comfort a distraught friend, and sometimes enough is enough. But rather than being honest with the friend who seems intent on bringing everyone else around him down to his level, you swallow your pride and keep “yes-ing” him to death. You’re not doing him any favors by agreeing with him on points that you don’t actually agree with. And you’re definitely not helping yourself by wasting your time in a cyclical, one-sided conversation, either.

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3. “With all due respect…”

Nothing good ever comes after those four words. If someone ever says that to you, what they really mean is: “I’m about to say something really mean, but I don’t want you to think I’m actually that rude…even though I am.” People tend to think that prefacing a jabbing statement with “with all due respect” totally absolves them of any backlash from the person they’re speaking to. It doesn’t work that way. You’re going to hurt someone’s feelings, and they’re going to retaliate one way or another.

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4. “Isn’t that always the way?”

This goes along with “I know what you mean.” It usually goes along with listening to a friend’s sob story about how their girlfriend dumped them, or they got laid off from their job, or they just had a terrible day. Though you do care about them, saying something like this usually means “I care about you, but not enough to give you some helpful advice.” Although I can’t blame you if the person dumping their problems on you never takes your advice in the first place. In that case, I guess you could resort to this cliche. If they’re not really listening anyway, what difference does your response make?

5. “It is what it is”

Coming full circle, saying “it is what it is” generally means “I definitely disagree with the way things are, but who am I to change them?” This is a defeatist attitude that goes against everything we’ve been taught our entire lives. Nothing truly ever “is what it is”; things are the way they are because people allow them to be that way. It’s sort of the opposite of “at the end of the day.” While “at the end of the day” tends to come from someone in a supervisory position and is directed at an employee, “it is what it is” is usually a colleague-to-colleague statement lamenting the current situation they both find themselves in. Don’t ever let yourself be so downtrodden that you truly believe you can’t make a difference.

Featured photo credit: Bored / Paul Want via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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