May 13, 2019

Public Speaking Sins: Avoid fad phrases

Strictly Speaking , Cardinal Sins , Public Speaking , The Buckley Experience

Reid Buckley’s "Strictly Speaking" was published by McGraw-Hill 10 years after Reid founded The Buckley School. Drawing on his decade of work with students, Reid designed it to be used as a reference for any speaking situation, so that a person could read as much or as little as needed. In 2019, we’re publishing excerpts from the first chapter in our online magazine: "10 Cardinal Sins that Amateurs Commit."


"The moment they bubble up on TV talk shows, they are used up."

– Reid Buckley on trendy phrases

Cardinal Sin 5: Avoid vulgar, with-it, faddish in-phrases.

Do you remember "the bottom line?" Time was when one could read nothing without bumping up against it. "The bottom line" belongs in an accountant's statement, possibly with reference to a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

"The bottom line," "getting down to the nitty gritty," "politically correct," even "immanentizing the eschaton": such reductions, when fresh, can be okay.

But they must be fresh. The moment they bubble up in weekly news magazines or on TV talk shows, they are used up.

The Awful Peatbog of Fashionable Phrases

Even when newly minted, there's something repulsive about them. They assume superiority also. They are PLU talk.*


*People like us, dummy! 

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