November 2013

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While researching on the other day, I came across a list of 10 words that should be “erased from your vocabulary – immediately.” Being an editor, I instantly became intrigued with what this list could consist of. Personally, I believe that if certain words should not be in my vocabulary, they definitely should not be included in writing… and after reading the list, I have to say that I agree. It especially seems that in such an industry as ours we should be as professional and qualified as possible, even in our speech with others.

Here is the list of words excerpted from the article, “10 Words to Erase From Your Vocabulary,” explanatory text included:

  1. Um – Josh Tolan, CEO of job matching service Spark Hire, calls this a “placeholder word” that makes you sound indecisive and inarticulate.
  2. Can’t – Henry Devries, co-author of “Closing America’s Job Gap” and assistant dean for continuing education at the University of California San Diego, says the word can’t really means I won’t or I don’t know how. A better way to say it: I want to learn how to do that.
  3. Like – Nancy Mobley, founder of consulting firm Insight Performance, says that when like is used as a filler word, it shows incompetence and poor communication skills.
  4. Never – “Don’t tempt fate,” says Dale Austin, director of the Career Development Center at Hope College. Never eliminates even the possibility of an idea, which can be both discouraging and naïve.
  5. But – Darlene Price, author of “Well Said,” says the word but negates anything that comes before it. She suggests replacing it with the word and or re-phrasing.
  6. Innovative – This one regularly lands on LinkedIn’s annual list of the most overused business buzz-words. Strike it from your resume.
  7. Probably – Austin says that probably, along with phrases like I guess and sort of, is tentative and does not reflect confidence or strength.
  8. No – “Nobody likes to hear no,” says Devries. “Instead, try the phrase I wish I could.”
  9. Et cetera – Robert Finder, author of “The Financial Professional’s Guide to Communication,” calls this a “non-word” that makes others do all the work. Instead, provide meaningful examples to illustrate your point.
  10. Really – Finder calls this a “poor attempt to instill candor and truthfulness” that makes clients and co-workers question whether you are really telling the truth.

I know I am guilty of more than a few of these habitual filler words. Forbes says these words are common among conversation, but they mean nothing and will get us nowhere in our dialogue. But what struck me were the descriptive words used with each explanation… words like indecisive, inarticulate, incompetence, discouraging and naïve. In our industry, we need to be the exact opposite! Clients expect their aesthetician to be experienced, communicative, encouraging, proficient and resolved when it comes to their skin. This will be much easier to do when you build confidence with them through your dialogue. It can often make clients second guess the professional nature of the spa and even the aesthetician. Do not let your clients sense any doubt or uncertainty – especially through your speech.



Amanda Strunk Miller

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