Overused phrases in public speaking


You hear them all the time. Those words and phrases that sneak into so many speeches and public addresses that make you cringe when you hear them. Sometimes it’s because they’ve become so overused. And sometimes it’s just because they start out cringeworthy.

Here’s a few of the ones we could do without:

  • “Our hearts go out” Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.
  • “Thoughts and prayers.” This nugget gets way overused in an attempt to express empathy.
  • “Abundance of caution”…and for super-achievers there’s “an OVERabundance of caution.” They want to make sure you know they were being super cautious!
  • Beginning every statement or answer to a question with “Look.” Even if it buys you a second to think, don’t do it. It makes you sound like a jerk.
  • “At the end of the day.” At the end of the day, can’t we all just go home?
  • “Let me be clear.” Yes, please. You don’t have to tell me you’re going to do it. Just do it.
  • “That’s a good question.” As an interviewer, you might appreciate the compliment, but chances are, you knew it was a good question or you wouldn’t have asked it. Another tactic to by time to think. How about just pausing thoughtfully and, you know, think!

Ditch these from your speechifying and your performance will be cleaner, clearer and more succinct. Everyone wins.

Is your favorite on the list? Which ones did we miss?