We hear the phrase all the time: harness the power of words.
First, let’s talk about what that phrase might mean. To harness something is to take control of it. So, in presenting, you should control the power of your words.
When talking to big crowds . . . every word counts.
But that’s not enough, is it? I mean, we all know that words are important, and perhaps never quite as important as they are in presentations. When hundreds of people are listening to just your words, you bet each word needs to be the right one.
So the question to ask as you write your speech, even if you write just notes: does this word add to or take from my presentation? Some words are better than others.
The ones that don’t make the cut, no matter what, are filler words. Umm. Uh. Well. They don’t add to the presentation, but they take up space. Sometimes, they’re our crutch while we spin our brain wheels. The way to get past that is to practice, practice, practice. Practice being silent while you think on stage.
The word harness rule of thumb: If you could say it simpler, say it simpler.
If you need some help or additional reading, check out Chip & Dan Heath’s Made to Stick.