By Lisa Hester
As a PR person responsible for interacting with clients and/or pitching media, you take on the role of representing yourself and your employer. One sure way to lose a reporter’s interest or reduce the chances of a potential client selecting your agency is to show a lack of confidence in the words you choose, both when speaking and in writing. The way you present yourself to others leaves a lasting impression. Even the slightest choice of words can reveal your uncertainty, whether you realize it or not.
If you want others to have trust in you, show no sign of doubt in the way you present yourself.
Here are five examples of words/phrases to avoid in your communications.
“Would you be interested in” Never ask a reporter if he would be interested in some specific information or topic you would like to share. Instead, tell him why he will be interested in the information you are sharing. Be sure to focus on the “What’s in it for me?” aspects – from both the reporter’s perspective and that of his audience.
Same goes for “May I send you information about.” Don’t waste the time of a busy reporter with this question. Simply share the information with the reporter and word it in such a way that he sees immediately the value to himself and to his audience.
“I think/feel/believe” Avoid these words in your work-related communications. All feelings are irrelevant, unless you are specifically asked to share your opinion on a topic. Otherwise, don’t use them. They show a distinct lack of confidence on your part and undermine your credibility.
Same with “I would love to” or “I would love it if.” Love is a feeling and, again, all feelings are irrelevant. Delete them from all work-related communications.
If you are telling a reporter you would love to send them more information, don’t. If it has value, just send it. Or, let him know that more information is available as needed. And never tell a client “I think.” The client has hired you for your expertise. Don’t be wishy washy as this phrase clearly demonstrates. Know what you tell them and tell them what you know.
“May I ask” Nope, just ask. Don’t ask to ask.
If you find that you incorporate some of these undesirable words or phrases in your oral communications, learn to practice. Practice before saying to a client or reporter what you intend to share. Be aware of when these words/phrases sneak into your conversation and work to eliminate them. When writing, quite simply get into the habit of proofing your correspondence before hitting the “send” button. You may be using these words and phrases without even realizing it.