March 7, 2014 fm

Beware Of The SWAB Team

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A ruthless breed of pause killers has been disrupting our speech flows for centuries – the SWAB team. My friend, beware of the SWAB team!

Who are those ruthless members of the SWAB team who will not rest nor repose till your last pause has finally been erased?


SO loves to crawl into your speech right before the closing. A typical phrase is, So – what is my message? Or, So, what is my point? OrSo, what is this all about?

Apart from the fact that you can skip the entire phrases – your audience knows what a message or a point is; you don’t have to tell them –  the SO is completely obsolete.

Instead, use transitions that support the logical flow of your structure. Like, If we combine all these three arguments I mentioned, where does this lead us to? Or, In summary I can say that… 


The second pause killer is WELL. The linguistical irony is that fountain is a synonym for well. WELL should flow like a fountain. Yet, WELL doesn’t help at all with your speech flow. WELL is another stumbling block in your speech creek. Well, you could also say speech river.


Imagine a 10 yard long bubblegum. How long could you pull it apart?

This is what AND does to your speech content. Every AND pulls apart your content like a bubblegum. The other day we went to New York and there we had dinner in a Chinese restaurant. And then the waiter came to our table and asked us if we… 

When you speak in public you speak to the ears of your audience. If AND is bad in written language, in spoken language it’s even worse. Use shorter sentences. Cut longer sentences into parts. The other day we went to New York. We had dinner in a Chinese restaurant. Once we’d sat down the waiter came. He asked us, “…

Spit out your bubblegum; eat pretzel sticks!


The last member of this ruthless breed of pause killers is BUT. BUT is a conjunction that is used to contrast with what has already been mentioned. In public speaking you want logical, not redundant conjunctions. But – BUT goes one step further. It makes the before mentioned point weaker.

This is a great event, but we shouldn’t forget about all those people who made it happen. What about the event now? Is it still great?

You can use it on purpose. But don’t use BUT as a redundant conjunction.

The most effective word

When you speak in public beware of the SWAB team. Follow the advice of the great Mark Twain who said that, The right word may be effective, but no word [especially SO, WELL, AND, BUT] was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

Let your pauses kill the pause killers!

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