Empty Phrases and Clichés in Communication (And How to Avoid Them)

Do you sometimes feel like people are talking in circles, and you can’t seem to find the right words? You’re not alone. Many people use empty phrases and clichés in their communication without realizing it.

In this article, we will discuss what empty phrases and clichés are and how you can avoid them in your speech.

What are Empty Phrases in Communication?

Empty phrases are words or expressions that don’t really mean anything. They are used to fill up space in a conversation, but they don’t add any value. Instead, they can make your speech sound awkward and unnatural.

Some common examples of empty phrases include:

“I’m just saying…”

“To be honest with you…”

“What I meant was…”

“It’s just that…”

“I don’t know…”

“You know what I mean?”

These are all prevalent examples of empty phrases in communication. The problem with them is that they’re redundant and add nothing to the sentence. They offer no value, meaning or context to your conversation. So why use them?

The best way to avoid using empty phrases in your communication is to simply be aware of what they are. You can even make a list for yourself of all the different ways you use them so that you’re better able to recognize when and where you need to stop using them.

What are Clichés in Communication?

Clichés are overused expressions that have lost their impact. They are often used to avoid thinking about what to say and make your speech sound lazy and unoriginal.

Interestingly, many phrases and idioms we use in our everyday language are actually clichés. For example, “”raining cats and dogs””, “”at the end of the day”” or “”that’s life””.

Some expressions become overused because they are true. However, if you rely on clichés too much in your speech, you run the risk of sounding lazy and unoriginal.

Why Do You Need to Avoid Them?

Empty phrases and clichés have an influence on your communication. They can make you sound unprofessional, lazy, or even rude to others.

Let’s’ look at some examples:

“I’m just saying…” – This phrase implies that there is something else you want to say but are not able to for whatever reason. Instead of saying it, you add an empty phrase to your sentence to soften the blow. The problem with this is that people can easily catch on and get offended by what you’re really trying to say.

“To be honest with you…” – This phrase is usually used when we want to say something but aren’t sure whether it will be well received. It’s a way of saying, “I’m going to say something now that might not sound very good, but I want you to know I’m being honest about it.” However, doing so implies that other times you speak are dishonest!

“What I meant was…” – this is another example of an empty phrase used to soften the blow. Instead of saying what you actually mean, you add this little phrase to make it sound less harsh.

“It’s just that…” – This is another one where we’re’ trying not to offend someone else with our words by adding a disclaimer before what comes next (e.g., It’s’ just that I don’t’ think you’re’ very good at this).

“I don’t know…” – This is a phrase we use when we’re feeling unsure about something. However, it often comes across as unprofessional, or like you’re not interested in the conversation.

“You know what I mean?” – This is a way of asking the other person if they understand what you’re saying. However, it can come across as condescending or like you think the other person is dumb.

Things You Can Do to Avoid Empty Phrases and Clichés

There are a few things you can do to avoid using empty phrases and clichés in your communication:

Be Aware of What They Are

As we mentioned earlier, the best way to avoid using empty phrases is to be aware of what they are. Once you’re’ aware of them, you can start to watch out for them when you use them.

Practice Pausing and Thinking

Another way to avoid using empty phrases is by practicing pausing, thinking and then speaking. This will allow you to think about what you want to say before saying it aloud instead of filling up the space with empty phrases or clichés.

Use Fewer Words

Another way to avoid using clichés is by using fewer words. When you use fewer words, it forces you to be more concise and specific with your language. This will help you to sound more articulate and thoughtful in your speech.

Breathe, If You are Nervous

Oftentimes, nervousness can make us use a lot of empty phrases and clichés in our speech. If you’re nervous about something, take some deep breaths to calm your nerves before speaking.

Use Vocal Tone and Gestures to Add Meaning

Finally, you can use vocal tone and gestures to add meaning to your words. This will help you to communicate your ideas more effectively.

When Is It Okay to Use Cliche and Empty Phrases?

You might be wondering if it’s’ okay to use a cliché or empty phrase in your speech sometimes. At times, it can be challenging to find the right words when communicating with others. This is especially true if we resort to using empty phrases or clichés in our speech.

The truth is cliches, and empty phrases are not wrong, but they can make your speech sound lazy and unoriginal. So, when is it okay to use clichés? Usually, only when you need an icebreaker or filler to begin the conversation.

For example, if you’re at a party and don’t know anyone, using an icebreaker like “how are you?” is totally okay.

However, if you’re’ giving a presentation or trying to make a serious point, it’s’ best to avoid clichés and empty phrases altogether. Instead, use your own words to explain what you mean.

Final Words

In conclusion, empty phrases and clichés can make your speech sound awkward and unnatural. They offer no value, meaning or context to your conversation. So why use them? The best way to avoid using them is by simply being aware of them. You can even make a list for yourself of all the different ways you use them so that you can watch out for them in your speech.

We hope this article has helped you understand what empty phrases and clichés are and how to avoid using them in your communication. Thanks for reading!

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