Sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all.
Public relations is not just about having a message, it is about having the right message at the perfect time. When crafting that message, understanding what not to say is every bit as important as what you do say, and when you say it. Sometimes that step is as simple as understanding which words you should never use and which ones you should use sparingly.
Here are five words that should rarely, if ever, find their way into your PR communications.
1. Really. Effective communication requires precision. Eliminating imprecise words will increase your audience’s understanding. “Really” is a pretense to imply increased gravity, but it adds little value.
2. Perhaps. Some use “perhaps” to hedge their bets, but it only creates uncertainty. People remember definite statements, so be precise and definite. Ditch “perhaps.”
3. Amazing. Far too many things today are described as “amazing.” Like “awesome,” amazing is used so often that people read right past it. Thus, “amazing” means less than nothing. Find synonyms that are more precisely descriptive, and you and your readers will be better off.
4. Stuff. Again, this is a nonspecific, filler word that some use to describe things—without actually describing them. When writing for the press, you must be as specific and detailed as possible. Leave that “stuff” out.
5. Got. Yes, there are arguments to be made on both sides. “Got” is a versatile verb. “I’ve got this!” “I’ve got to go!” “I got up this morning, got the paper, and got in my car to go to work.” Sure, it’s versatile, but that certainly doesn’t mean “got” should be seen in your PR messaging. In almost every case, there is a superior way to construct a sentence without “got” in there.
Erase these five words to strengthen your PR communication.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO/president of 5W Public Relations, one of the top 25 largest independently owned PR agencies in the US, and is also the author of the book “For Immediate Release.”