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How to Blow It in Five Words or Less

October 2, 2008  

Nothing irks Steve Roesler more than when a speaker diminishes himself in five words or less. What may seem like courtesy when you're making that B2B sales pitch could actually be blowing your chances to seal a deal. Roesler offers the following examples of words that can kill. (Now, be honest: how many have you used when making a presentation?)

I'll only take a few minutes of your time. "That opening line made me wonder why I had scheduled more than a few minutes of my time to listen to the speaker," Roesler reports.

I just want to … Just? Roesler asks. He counts that word among the many that, when uttered in a board room, immediately "make you small."

I know how busy everyone is … "Right. But we put you on the agenda. Start talking."

Thank you for taking your time … "You're welcome. You just took up even more of my time with that wimpy intro," he says.


Language is one of a B2B marketer's most powerful tools. And people all around you, Roesler says, are looking for leadership. "Nothing makes me wince more than seeing someone who is confident in his material stand up and use words that undercut the power of the message."

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  • by Steve Roesler Fri Oct 3, 2008 via web

    Would you believe?:

    I actually received a passionate comment regarding how "nice" I am not due to the examples represented (with sincere appreciation) in your article.

    There is a huge misunderstanding out there regarding the difference between "effectiveness" and "self-deprecation to the point of self-reduction."

    Maybe it's time to draw an even clearer line in the sand on this:

    1. If you are asked to speak, it's because someone believes you have something of worth to say.

    2. If you choose to disavow their judgment by using language that diminishes your presence, then you have insulted "their" judgment.

    3. The power of your remaining message will be reduced as a result of your own attempt at false humility.

    Thanks, Marketing Profs, for providing an even larger audience to a topic that is important to everyone who wants to make an impact with a group.

  • by K. Montgomery Wed Oct 15, 2008 via web

    This article is awesome. I made copies to pass out to my employee's.
    This perfect wisdom will continue to allow them to grow in my company in developing thier self esteem, our vision and mission, and client services.
    Thank-you.

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