I recently read an article, “15 Words You Need To Eliminate From Your Vocabulary To Sound Smarter,” on Forbes.com. The author, Jennie Haskamp, writes that people don’t have the time or the attention span to read more words than necessary. Readers should want to hear you out, understand your message and be entertained. To do this, she suggests eliminating 15 words from your written material.
While I agree with Ms. Haskamp, I think that these words should also be eliminated from our spoken words. When interviewing, using more words than necessary causes similar problems. People tune you out, your message point gets lost, and boring is not entertaining. We are have our favorite words and, if nervous, you may repeat these words over and over.
Here are the 15 words, Ms. Haskamp suggests your eliminate:
1. That. It’s often unnecessary.
2. Went. Be creative, consider other words –walked, drove, skated etc.
3. Honestly. If you use honestly, are you implying the rest of what you wrote or said is not honest?
4. Absolutely. It’s necessary or essential. Absolutely is not needed.
5. Very. Are you very happy or ecstatic; very sad or melancholy?
6. Really. No comment.
7. Amazing. Do you mean wonderful, incredible, marvelous?
8. Always. Keep ‘always’ to the instruction manuals.
9. Never. See Always.
10. Literally. Check out the definition. Ms. Haskamp thinks you really mean figuratively.
11. Just. You ‘just’ did the media. Just, makes your sentence weaker.
12. Maybe. If you aren’t sure, don’t write or say it.
13. Stuff. You don’t do ‘stuff.’ You do specific tasks.
14. Things. Same as stuff.
15. Irregardless. Don’t use it. The proper word is ‘regardless.’
See, I sound smarter already, how about you? I would add ‘awesome’ to the list. Your suggestions?