Ethan Rotman

There Is A Chance Of It Being A Definite Possibility

In Attracting New Clients, Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on March 12, 2010 at 9:42 am

The real goal here is to avoid using words that make you sound like you’re reading, instead of talking — that shatter the image you’re speaking knowledgeably to one person. By not using ‘newsspeak,’ you enhance your reputation as a communicator.”

 These are the works of Tribune CEO Randy Michaels in a memo issues to staff this week.

Michaels is trying to help his radio staff sound professional by forcing them to avoid words and phrases that mean next to nothing. A few of my favorites are listed below and I encourage you to read the entire article at

 Next week, I will post a list of phrases speakers (as opposed to newscasters) commonly use that mean very little. You can see how many of them are in your vocabulary. 

  • “Good” or “bad” news
  •  “Some” meaning “about”
  • “Two to one margin” . . . “Two to one” is a ratio, not a margin. A margin is measured in points. It’s not a ratio.
  •  “Youth” meaning “child”
  • 5 a.m. in the morning
  • Alleged
  • Area residents
  • As expected
  • At risk
  • At this point in time
  • Bare naked
  • Behind bars
  • Behind the podium (you mean lectern) [sic]
  • Best kept secret
  • Clash with police
  • Close proximity
  • Complete surprise
  • Definitely possible
  • Dubbaya when you mean double you
  • Everybody (when referring to the audience)
  • False pretenses
  • Famed
  • Fatal death
  • Giving 110%
  • Going forward
  • In a surprise move
  • In harm’s way
  • Informed sources say . . .
  • Literally
  • Medical hospital
  • Mute point. (It’s moot point, but don’t say that either)
  • Near miss
  • Perfect storm
  • Really
  • Reportedly
  • Senseless murder
  • Sketchy details
  • Sources say . . .
  • Speaking out
  • The fact of the matter
  • Untimely death
  • Utilize (you mean use)
  • Went terribly wrong
  1. When you write the post on what not to say when speaking, please add “grow your business”! I never want to hear that phrase again.

  2. “At The End Of The Day”

    and my least favorite…


  3. Unique. It’s an absolute. There are no degrees of unique. It’s either unique or it isn’t. So “absolutely unique,” “completely unique,” “seriously unique,” “wonderfully unique,” and the worst offender of them all, “uniquely unique,” are all ix-nay. Used correctly, “unique,” standing alone, is more powerful.

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