We all use them. Everyday. And they’re a waste of breath – crutch words.
Chances are, you don’t even realise how often you use them. They become so ingrained in the way we speak they creep into our sentences, without notice and without adding any substance to what we’re saying.
When you’re aiming to make a strong impression, such as in an interview, choosing your words carefully and getting to the point is wise.
The good news is, if you manage to kick the crutch you’ll sound more articulate, more thoughtful – smarter.
Crutch words are individual but there are a few which are very common.
“I just need to check it over before it’s finalised”
It makes your sentence weaker, not stronger. It’s one of those words that creeps into your sentences without you even knowing. Unless you’re using it to mean fair or equitable you just don’t need to use it.
Very is so over-used and subjective its lost its punch power. Why be very careful when you could be cautious. Why work on a very big project when you could work on a project worth $200 million. There are so many better words you could be using to make what you’re saying more interesting, engaging and specific.
“Basically, to get the project over the line…”
No sentence ever needs to start with basically. If you use it, you probably start talking before you finished thinking. Easy fix is to take an extra second or two, finish thinking then start talking.
“I always follow the process”
Always is rarely true. It raises questions about the authenticity of what you’re saying and brings in to question the statements you’ve made where always was excluded.
5. Touching base
I know, technically it’s 2 words. But it’s two words that when put together mean nothing. If you are contacting someone to touch base, get to the point and tell them why you’re calling. If it’s because you haven’t spoken in while – tell them that. If you’re following up on a previous discussion – get to the point.
If you’re combining touching base with just, stop now. “I’m just calling to touch base” has to be one of the most value-less statements ever created.
6. Soz, Okies, Legit, YOLO or any other abbreviations that belong in a text message
Am I the only one with this pet peeve? I am gen-y. I grew up with a mobile. I text.
I know, not technically a crutch word BUT any abbreviation used in a text message belongs there. And only there.
My biggest crutch is just. I am attempting to give it the kick but underestimated how often I used it and how hard it would be…
One tip if you find you’ve slipped into using more than one crutch word – try kicking one at a time. It will take a little more thought and preparation before you speak and if you try them all at once you might be left tongue tied as your brain attempts to shift gears.