From the Business Insider
15 words to eliminate from your vocabulary to sound smarter
Newsprint is on life support, emojis are multiplying faster than hungry Gremlins, and 300 million people worldwide strive to make their point in 140 or fewer characters.
People don’t have the time or the attention span to read any more words than necessary.
You want your readers to hear you out, understand your message, and perhaps be entertained, right? Here’s a list of words to eliminate to help you write more succinctly.
It’s superfluous most of the time. Open any document you’ve got drafted on your desktop, and find a sentence with that in it. Read it out loud. Now read it again without that. If the sentence works without it, delete it. Also? Don’t use that when you refer to people. “I have several friends that live in the neighborhood.” No. No, you don’t. You have friends who. Not friends that.
I went to school. Or the store, or to church, or to a conference, to Vegas, wherever it is you’re inclined to go. Instead of went, consider drove, skated, walked, ran, flew. There are any number of ways to move from here to there. Pick one. Don’t be lazy and miss the chance to add to your story.
People use honestly to add emphasis. The problem is, the minute you tell your reader this particular statement is honest, you’ve implied the rest of your words were not. #Awkward
Adding this word to most sentences is redundant. Something is either necessary, or it isn’t. Absolutely necessary doesn’t make it more necessary. If you recommend an essential course to your new employees, it’s essential. Coincidentally, the definition of essential is absolutely necessary. Chicken or egg, eh?
Accurate adjectives don’t need qualifiers. If you need to qualify it? Replace it. Very is intended to magnify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. What it does is makes your statement less specific. If you’re very happy? Be ecstatic. If you’re very sad, perhaps you’re melancholy or depressed. Woebegone, even. Very sad is a lazy way of making your point. Another pitfall of using very as a modifier? It’s subjective. Very cold and very tall mean different things to different people. Be specific. She’s 6’3″ and it’s 13 degrees below freezing? These make your story better while also ensuring the reader understands the point you’re making.
Unless you’re a Valley Girl, visiting from 1985, there’s no need to use really to modify an adjective. Or a verb. Or an adverb. Pick a different word to make your point. And never repeat really, or very for that matter. That’s really, really bad writing.
If you are visiting from 1985? Please bring the birth certificate for my Cabbage Patch Doll on your next visit. Thanks.
The word means “causing great surprise or sudden wonder.” It’s synonymous with wonderful, incredible, startling, marvelous, astonishing, astounding, remarkable, miraculous, surprising, mind-blowing, and staggering. You get the point, right? It’s everywhere. It’s in corporate slogans. It dominated the Academy Awards acceptance speeches. It’s all over social media. It’s discussed in pre-game shows and post-game shows.
Newsflash: If everything is amazing, nothing is.
Absolutes lock the writer into a position, sound conceited and close-minded, and often open the door to criticism regarding inaccuracies. Always is rarely true. Unless you’re giving written commands or instruction, find another word.
Literally means literal. Actually happening as stated. Without exaggeration. More often than not, when the term is used, the writer means figuratively. Whatever is happening is being described metaphorically. No one actually “waits on pins and needles.” How uncomfortable would that be?
It’s a filler word and it makes your sentence weaker, not stronger. Unless you’re using it as a synonym for equitable, fair, even-handed, or impartial, don’t use it at all.
This makes you sound uninformed, unsure of the facts you’re presenting. Regardless of the topic, do the legwork, be sure, write an informed piece. The only thing you communicate when you include these words is uncertainty.
This word is casual, generic even. It serves as a placeholder for something better. If the details of the stuff aren’t important enough to be included in the piece? Don’t reference it at all. If you tell your reader to take your course because they’ll learn a lot of stuff? They’re likely to tell you to stuff it.
This doesn’t mean what you think it means, Jefe. It means regardless. It is literally (see what I did there?) defined as: regardless. Don’t use it. Save yourself the embarrassment.
Whether you’re ghostwriting for your CEO, updating a blog, selling a product, or finishing your master’s thesis, you need to keep your reader engaged. These 15 words are a great place to start trimming the fat from your prose. Bonus? You’ll sound smarter.
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Congratulations to Sweetwater Valley Toastmasters Member James Farrens on achieving both Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Leader Bronze. He has been a Toastmaster for two and one-half years and is the Treasurer for Club 3225. The Awards were presented by Club President Andrew Haney at the regular meeting on Saturday, April 4, 2015.
James Farrens is a retired Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Navy Supply Corps and is an Eagle Scout.
PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES: A BASIC INTRODUCTION
(based on Robert’s Rules of Order)
Rules of order prevent chaos in a meeting while allowing for a standard to follow. These rules allow everyone to be heard in a fair manner. But members need to understand the reason for the rules and a few basic rules. These rules can be placed on the lectern for each meeting to guide the President and the Chair. Each organization needs to have Robert’s Rules of Order in the hands of the Parliamentarian
for each meeting.
In each case that follows, a member needs to stand and state his point. Then, if the Chair recognizes him, the member proceeds to elaborate. Remember that the one chairing the meeting cannot move a motion. The parliamentarian of the club can rule on an issue or question but only when asked by the Chair. Typically, all business and motions are made during the club business portion at the beginning of the meeting.
A quorum must be met for business decisions to be valid. The business meeting begins at the striking of the gavel by the presiding officer. A quorum, typically, is one more than 50% of the active members. The presiding officer needs to ask the Secretary to confirm is a quorum is present by counting members present. So if we have 24 registered, but only 20 are attending regularly and have paid dues, then 11 would be a quorum for that meeting. The number for a quorum changes as often as weekly as active members change. A member is not attending regularly if he or she has not attended for three straight meetings without a reason being told to the club.
Moving a Motion
If we want to talk about anything in the club, we need a motion. The motion needs to be simple but complete. The key words to tell the club you want to do something is to say
“ I move that….”
An example of a simple but complete motion follows. The key to a complete motion is to include, if possible, the who, what, when, where, and why of the motion. Otherwise, complications immediate result in making a club decision.
“I move that our club have a member appreciation party on September 17 during our regular club meeting from 6:30-8:00.”
This motion answers everything except the cost issue, agenda, and attendees. Will it be pot luck? Who will chair the meeting? Will there be certificates? Will we have a special speaker? Can guests and family members come? Will the meeting be open to the public? How will the agenda change?
These questions not answered in the motion should be addressed at an Executive Committee meeting before a motion is made to the club.
Immediately, a member needs to say “I second the motion.” That statement means the club can discuss the motion. The Secretary needs to be given time to write down the motion and to read it back to the club for accuracy.
Next, the maker of the motion gets to discuss it first. So the maker stands and explains. The explanation should state that the unanswered questions have been addressed already by the Executive Committee. The maker of the motion then states the answers to the questions.
Next, the Chair asks if anyone else wants to speak in favor of the motion. Following that, the Chair asks if anyone wants to speak against the motion.
Once the Chair realizes everyone has been heard, he calls for the vote. He asks, “ All in favor say,. “aye.” After the count, he asks, “All opposed say, “nay”.” Finally, ask, “All abstaining raise your hands.”
Once the count is clear, the Chair normally states, “The motion passes. Then he restates the motion. “The club has passed that our club has a member appreciation party on September 17 during our regular club meeting from 6:30-8:00.”
Finally, it is a good ideas for the Chair to state, “Mr. Secretary, please note in the minutes the passing of the motion.”
Moving an Amendment
If the motion is incomplete or you disagree with it, move to amend. The key words to start are
“I move to amend….”
Similar procedures as above are followed. However, several ways to amend exist. We may add words at the end of the main or first motion. We can delete, or we can delete and insert. Or we can insert words. An example follows.
“Mr. Chair, I move to amend the main motion by deleting 17 and inserting 24.”
This move to amend would mean that the mover of the amendment realizes that the club already has a special event on the 17th and others in the club forgot that!
Point of Information
This means that you need information. The key words are
“I rise to a point of information.”
The Chair would recognize the speaker and ask, “What is your point of information?” or “What is your question?”
An example might be, “Mr. President, will we have three speakers today or will we have time for an educational talk?”
Point of Personal Privilege
This one means you are uncomfortable, or you see others are uncomfortable. The key words here are
“I rise to a point of personal privilege.”
An example would be, “Mr .Toastmaster, please ask the Sergeant at Arms to open some windows. I am uncomfortable and it is stuffy in here.”
Point of Order
When rising to make a point of order, you are stating that a problem exists with the agenda. The Chair is not following the agenda, so you want to know why. The key words are
“I rise to a point of order.”
The Chair would ask, “What is your point of order?”
The member might respond, “We have had a long business meeting already, and we have three speakers. May we stop and proceed with table topics which is where we are supposed to be?”
Orders of the Day
This one should rarely be used. It is a demanding immediate requirement to stop what is going on and proceed to the item on the agenda that fits the current time on the clock.
The key words are
“I move the orders of the day.”
At this point, the Chair states, “The orders of the day have been called for. We shall proceed immediately to Table Topics.”
This special strong motion requires no second and no discussion is allowed. Everything stops. The member is stating his or her high frustration with the running of the meeting. So this one borders on rudeness, but it is categorical.
We all want to give a wonderful speech! Unfortunately, we try to deliver using all the many aspects of an award winning speech. What to do? I am going to share some tried and true, on the mark, and totally awesome lessons from my own personal experience! If you try it, you’ll like it!
- Be a verbivore. Use specific and appropriate vocabulary for clear messages. Do NOT use cliches! How many did you count in my last two introductory sentences?
- Be an outliner. Do NOT write your speech. All we do by writing everything is to try to remember every word. Remember that the best speeches are conversations with individuals in your audience. Outline your speech. Know your main points. If you must use note cards, do so. Using cards and the Rule of Threes means your talk will be much more spontaneous, real, and conversational. See Secret numbers 3 and 6.
- Be spontaneous. Do NOT spend three weeks practicing every day. A key component of the best speeches are the spontaneity and the ease of delivery. Practicing too much leads to memorization. Practicing too much leads us to pass our peak of readiness. And practicing a lot takes a lot of time. Do not just practice. Remember that if we keep doing the same thing over and over and expect improvement, that is a definition of insanity. Practice correctly. And remember to time yourself. Make allowances for audience reaction, use of visual aids, and the occasional ad lib. Perfect practice (within reason) makes perfect.
- Be lazy. I am. Why spend weeks on a talk when I can spend 10 minutes during the meeting outlining some thoughts? Heresy! See Secret number 5.
- Be a reader. I have been able to deliver speeches that are excellent just because I have retained enough of what I have read. One talk was about an imaginary discussion between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams concerning disagreements about a draft of the Declaration of Independence. Read magazines, books, newspapers, and Internet news clips. Read the Toastmaster Magazine! Just make reading a part of your day even if just for five minutes. Always have reading material with you.
- Be a user of the Rule of Threes. Three examples. Three quotes. Three sub-points under each major point depending on the length of your speech. This rule allows us to easily recall what we want to say. Notice I did NOT use the word “memorize”.
- Be a fun-loving person! Stretch your mind and stretch your body! Exaggerate with gestures. Smile a lot. You have a friendly audience who are going to applaud whatever you do. I gave a humorous talk about how Toastmasters has many physical exercises to help build up our speaking strength. Everyone was chuckling and laughing! I had fun.
- Be a listener. Listen to your evaluators. Listen to other speakers. Incorporate some of their successful techniques. I practiced a talk at a club the night before I was to be the speaker in my area evaluation contest. My evaluator strongly suggested I make some changes. I made the recommended changes. My talk was much better at the contest the next evening. In fact, one contest evaluator said he found nothing to improve, while the other pointed out just one factual error.
- Be imperfect. Don’t worry about making mistakes. You WILL make mistakes and leave material out of your talk. Who will know? No one. Besides that, applaud your mistakes. Without mistakes, we shall never improve. I unintentionally leave out material in every speech. No one knows.
- Be knowledgeable. Talk about personal stories-real stories. Talk about something you already know. That makes speeches lively, memorable, and easy to plan. One talk of mine was about a time in France when, as a child of 10, I went exploring in a nearby forest. The project was Working with Words. This one was one of my most well-received talks ever.
Those are 10 secrets for giving wonderful speeches. Try these! They work for me.
Welcome to your new website. Your page already has rich content from Toastmasters International, District 5 and other clubs. There are several things that you need to do to make your site ready for the general public. I will list those things below. After you have made suggested changes, you can delete this post.
1. Login. Go to the bottom of the page and you will see the word Login. Use the login/password that you received in the notification email and you are ready to begin.
2. Set up your meeting info.
Here is a video that explains 1 and 2:
3. Add your meeting information to the calendar page and the calendar widget. Here is a video:
4. In order for other clubs to see your postings correctly, please change your default category. Any new posts that you add will then appear correctly on other club sites. Here is a short video:
5. The most important thing that you will do as webmaster is to share the exciting news about your club. Here is a video that explains how to post a story.
6. It is important for members and guests to be able to contact officers. Members might want to publicize important things that they are working on. Here is a video about Creating the Member Directory.
That pretty much covers setting up your website. Look around and if you have any topics that you would like for me to cover in a later tutorial, let me know at email@example.com.
7. Adding an author (coming soon)
8. Registering your site on Toaastmasters International
- Login to our website www.toastmasters.org/clubcentral with your User Name and Password
- Click on your club’s name in the red text
- Below Conduct Club Business, click on Update my club meeting information
- Make any necessary corrections to the club’s website link
- Click on the Update button at the bottom of the page
· Please allow up to 24 hours for the changes to fully process and display on our website.
Thanks to Michelle at toastmasters.org
Thanks for joining iCrewClubSites. Good luck with your new Toastmasters Website.