Know What to Avoid

waste basket photo“When in doubt, throw it out.”

In order to become a mindful communicator, especially with respect to public speaking, consider the audience when deciding what words, terminology, and phrases to use. Being cautious and mindful about the language used goes beyond what some may call “P.C.” or politically correct, which has become a loaded term in contemporary politics. If the language of a speech triggers a negative response from individuals in the audience, then it is highly likely that those audience members will no longer listen with the intent to understand. They have likely either turned off their attention spans or started to listen with the intent to defend themselves later.

In keeping this goal in mind, stay mindful of the language used and incorporate words that resonate with the audience. Some categories of language to consider avoiding include political, religious, racial, ethnic, or sexual references that some may consider offensive or, at the very least, off-putting. For example, words that may have once been acceptable may need slight edits before using them in front of a potentially diverse audience. These words include “stewardess” (flight attendant), “fireman” (firefighter), and “cleaning lady” (housekeeper).

Note to Self

You can find more examples of words you should avoid by conducting some simple research.



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Messages that Matter: Public Speaking in the Information Age - Third Edition Copyright © 2023 by North Idaho College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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