Whenever you open your mouth, you have the option of having a hellish or a heavenly outcome. The goal of this blog is to help you avoid strike-outs and instead, hit your points home!

First, we’ll explore four “h†words that can doom you to failure as a speaker, leader or team member. Then, I’ll introduce you to four positive “h†words that can guide you to the success you’re seeking when you need to convince or captivate others – whether a group or one-on-one.

What are the four “h†words that can doom you to failure as a speaker, leader or team member?

#1 = Hurrying!! 
When we are nervous, we sometimes “race†through our remarks … especially towards the end of our comments. What happens when we go too fast, however, is that we fail to give our audience time to absorb and reflect on what we’re saying. Remember, what you are relating is most likely being heard for the first time … whether it’s your team of co-workers or volunteers, a prospective client, a journalist, an industry group, or the Board of Directors. (Parent/child relationships are exempt!) Recommended: Slow yourself down. Breathe. Plan deliberate pauses at strategic places.
#2 = Harping!! 
It’s one thing to try and make your point several different ways to be sure everyone understands and buys your reasoning. But you doom your chances when you go on and on about a particular point, otherwise known as harping on the topic. The technique doesn’t usually work at home and it won’t work at the office either. Recommended: Revise, edit, eliminate!
#3 = Hurtful.
“Honey,†the adage goes, “attracts more flies than vinegar.†Anger, disappointment and being let down can make us want to lash out at someone or a group. Instead, think through the situation at hand and offer solutions. That’s true leadership, and isn’t that what you are cut out to be?

#4 = (Saying) However.
However … is just another “h†word that replaces the word “but†… and still usually means another foot is about to drop. To quiet down a potentially explosive conversation, try saying something positive first, followed by the word, “and†instead of the word, “however†(or but).

Now, what are the Positive “H†words that lead to ‘home runs’ at the office and in the community?

#1 = Heart! The song says, “You’ve got to have heart … all you need is heart…†The truth is, as a speaker, you need an organized, thoughtful presentation of your ideas, product or service – but that usually is not enough! A message without passion, without “heart,†generally leaves another person or a group unmoved. You know you’ve put your “heart†into your words when you can feel – and others can see – the “twinkle in your eye.†If your words remain “flat†and uninspired, nothing is likely to happen.
#2 = Happening or Hot! As you develop your content, ask yourself, “is what I am sharing new? Is it something people will leave talking about in a positive way?†Otherwise, revisit your thoughts and “freshen†them up!
#3 = Helpful. Today, most folks are overwhelmed, feeling under-appreciated, under-paid and overworked. Worse, many talented people remain unemployed or underemployed. I urge you to craft your message, no matter where you are or to whom you’re speaking, to be as useful and relevant as possible. You’ll be not only noticed but really and truly heard … #4 … the ultimate “H†word. Here’s to you and all the happy, healthy, humorous, hilarious, hearty, hip, and well-heeled adventures that await your use of the right “h†words.

Coming soon! Public Speaking for the Genius by Anne B. Freedman. Save 25% with your pre-publication order now! Just click here.