As a rabbi and/or educator you spend countless hours a week serving as a public speaker. Refining speaking and presentation skills are heavily featured in Ner LeElef’s many training programs.

And so, while you may want to brush up on your presentation and delivery techniques, you simply can’t find the time to search all over the web for short but poignant tips.  At NLE Resources, we’ve got you covered! We are on the lookout for links of interest that we believe will help you in delivering your words of Torah!

Meet Dr. Nick Morgan

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. In a recent blog posts he cautions against using weasel words. Below is a short excerpt of his article:

What are weasel words?  Words that undercut the strength of the sentences they’re lodged in.  The most common one that I hear is “actually.”  Pay attention to your colleagues today when they speak, and I guarantee you that one of them will use “actually” in almost every phrase – without irony or awareness.  Be warned:  when you start noticing, it will drive you mad.

What’s wrong with “actually?”  If I say, “This is true,” I make a strong claim.  If I say, “This is actually true,” I’m making a weaker claim, because I’m defending the truth in advance against unnamed doubters and counter positions.  I’m saying, in effect, “You may not think so, but this is in fact true.”

Or to put it another way, “I love you” makes a clear claim.  “I actually love you” has a very different ring to it, doesn’t it?  Which do you want to be known for?

What are the other common weasel words?  If you listen to your colleagues speak during a typical day, you’ll soon compile a list of your own.  Other common ones I hear are:  “in fact,” “really,” “very,” “probably,” – in fact, almost all adverbs can fill in as weasel words, because they qualify the verbs they’re attached to.

So take a stand, avoid the weasel words when you can, and create a stronger position of authority with your colleagues.  Get the weasel words out of your system by sending your favorites to me.  I’ll list the winners in a subsequent blog post.  Really.

In short, they are words that undercut the strength of the sentences they’re lodged in.


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