Banish Flickwords

A flickwort, (plural, flickworten, the ‘w’ is pronounced ‘v’ of course) is a German concept. I came across it courtesy of language junkie Stephen Fry. The literal translation is “flick words”.

It refers to all those unnecessary words you throw in to your speech that have no meaning or relevance. Here’s one description I since found online:

a word whose content is superfluous or incorporated solely because of the rhythm of speech

In short, they are unnecessary. Filler is another definition.

I was privileged to help a salesteam with a couple of tactical workshops recently. During these I was struck by how many flickwords pepper the typical pitch. No matter how experienced the seller (and some could rightly be proud of their terrific sales achievements to date), flickwords could be showered throughout their formal talk.

People feel they have to be overly formal. ‘As it pertains to…’, ‘however…’, ‘therefore…’ and the over use of ‘actually…’ are al examples I’ve heard lately.

You don’t do this in normal speech, so why tolerate their presence in your pitches?

Practice can overcome.

Look in the mirror. Run through your spiel. Remove those ums, arhs, and all flickwords for a slicker, more memorable performance.

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