Is your communication full of clichés and tired old expressions? In public speaking, frequently using phrases like "you know" and "see what I mean" can be just as distracting to your listeners as frequently using filler words like "um" and "ah." These tired and overused words and phrases dilute the power of the message you are trying to convey.

According to Jeremy Butterfield's book Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare, here are the ten most overused expressions, along with my comments:
1. "At the end of the day" (one of those phrases which has been overused and is now essentially meaningless)
2. "Fairly unique" (impossible – it's either unique or it's not)
3. "I personally think" (you don't need "personally" because "I" already conveys who is doing the thinking)
4. "At this moment in time" (replace with "now" – using fewer words is usually better)
5. "With all due respect" (eliminate, since it's usually followed by a statement that is anything but respectful)
6. "Absolutely" (I overuse this phrase and am working on reducing how many times I start my sentences with it, especially when responding to a question)
7. "It's a nightmare" (usually this phrase is an exaggeration – avoid it unless the seriousness of the situation truly warrants it)
8. "Shouldn't of" (this is my personal pet peeve and I hear and see it everywhere - the correct phrase should be "shouldn't have")
9. "24/7" (at one time, this may have been an interesting, unique phrase, but it has become so overused as to render it tired and clichéd)
10. "It's not rocket science" (another popular variation is "it's not brain surgery" – reduce usage of these phrases because obviously, very little is rocket science or brain surgery)

What is your personal top ten list of overused phrases? Once you've identified them, replace them in your public speaking with more powerful and evocative words that will help you convey your message clearly and memorably.

Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills. Receive a FREE Special Report, "Six Mistakes to Avoid in Public Speaking, So Your Presentation Sparkles" by visiting and entering your email address. You'll also be subscribed to Gilda's free twice-monthly e-newsletter containing practical tips you can use immediately to improve your communication and presentation skills. Copyright (c) 2009

Author's Bio: 

Gilda Bonanno is a trainer, speaker, coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate professionals sharpen their presentation and communication skills. She achieves these results by combining her extensive business experience with a talent for improvisational performance and a belief that with the right training and practice, everyone can become an effective communicator.
In addition to facilitating high-energy, client-focused training programs, Gilda speaks about leadership, motivation, communication and humor to groups ranging from engineers to healthcare professionals to human resource practitioners. Gilda also coaches individuals to overcome their fear of public speaking and eliminate the barriers to letting their voice be heard.
She is Immediate Past President of the Southern CT chapter of the American Society for Training and Development and a member of the National Speakers Association. Gilda also is a member of the World Class Indifference improv comedy team, which performs shows and workshops in New York City and throughout Connecticut. She incorporates improv techniques into her training and coaching, helping people learn to think on their feet, be creative and develop confidence. Gilda has worked with clients throughout the US, and in Mexico, China and India.