Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

“Honey, I Love You, BUT…”

In Essence of Speaking on August 11, 2009 at 12:03 am

The word “but” is one of the most misused words in the English language… not from a grammatical standpoint, but with regards to the intended meaning of the speaker. This abuse happens mostly while handling objections, giving feedback, presenting an opinion and during the course of a normal conversation. Here’s how NOT to use the word, “but”:

  • “Honey, I love you, BUT you drive me crazy when you interrupt every time that I’m talking.”
  • “Mr. Customer, I know that you think this is expensive, BUT it really isn’t.”
  • “That was a very interesting point, BUT I have to disagree with you.”

Here is a way to make the above messages more powerful (starting by removing the word “but”):

  • “Honey, I love you! I would love you even more if you give me a chance to finish my thoughts before giving me your answer.”
  • “Mr. Customer, I understand that your initial reaction to the price is that it’s expensive. Some of my most loyal customers initially felt the exact same way. Here’s what they discovered when they realized what this solution could do for them…”
  • “That was a very interesting point. Here is a different perspective that I submit for your consideration…”

Sales professionals, politicians, news people, leaders, parents, etc. stick “but” right in the middle of most statements because they think they think that ‘filler-word’ is necessary. All that does is damage the impact of their real message. The next time that you feel the desire to say “but”, consider leaving it out and see if your message is stronger and more positive.

(Note to you fellow college graduates: “however”… “although”… “nevertheless”… “on the other hand”… “still”… “though”… and“yet” are just as bad!)


Stephen V. Richardson


How Facebook Can Spread the Benefits of Toastmasters To Your Friends & Family

In Resources on August 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm

One of my favorite things I learned at training for VP of Public Relations is that it’s the role of every member to use Facebook. With the power of Facebook, we can reach more people to share the Toastmasters experience.

What you can do today to enhance your Facebook profile:

  1. List Toastmasters in your Biography under Activities.
  2. Become a fan of Toastmasters District 57
  3. Find your Toastie-buddies and become friends.
  4. Comment in your “What do you do statement” on
    1. What did you learn today in Toastmasters
    2. Comment about the speech you’re preparing
    3. Ask for ideas for getting a joke for humor master, table topic questions etc…
    4. Invite your friends to a meeting!
  5. Acknowledge a toastie for their wonderful speech and their thought provoking conversations etc.
  6. Streamline your Chamber Chatters posts onto your Facebook page.
  7. Invite your friends to a meeting!

Of course, these are simple principles that can be used in all of your social networks!!!

Let’s connect, let’s be friends, I’d LOVE to learn more about you!

Andrea D. Spence is VP of Public Relations for Toastmasters Chamber Chatters.

How NOT to Ask Questions

In Essence of Speaking on August 2, 2009 at 9:47 pm


We see examples of how NOT to ask questions every single day. Tragically, most of those bad examples come from individuals who should know better… people whose jobs rely on their ability to effectively uncover the truth (news reporters / sales people / senate committee members, etc.). Here is a brief list of what NOT to do when asking questions:

  • Ask leading questions (that have the expected answer in the question itself)
  • Ask multiple questions without taking a breath (diluting the importance of each question and making it feel like the Spanish Inquisition)
  • Ask questions, and then ignore the answers (by not asking follow-up questions or clarifying what was heard)
  • Ask questions that are not questions (They’re actually nothing more than statements)
  • Ask questions, then (rudely) interrupt in the middle of the answer.
  • Ask mean-spirited questions (to embarrass, inflame or anger)

When done properly, questioning is one of the most powerful forms of communication. Never abuse that power!


Stephen V. Richardson