Certain phrases are guaranteed to turn-off an audience
by Peter Watts
“With all due respect……”
“I’m sorry, but…….”
“Look, I just want to say…….”
These are the phrases that when we hear them spoken, make us want to lovingly reach through our television screens and strangle whoever it is that has just uttered them!
I have a word for these phrases. Collectively I call them “winders” in that whenever they are used, someone is going to wind up becoming distinctly wound up!
A winder can be defined as any phrase that belittles the person against whom it is aimed. It suggests an air of smug superiority on the part of the individual who has used it, and if you listen carefully as the winder is delivered, you will hear that is accompanied by a slight sigh, as the deliverer condescends to be involved with such a lesser mortal.
Winders, in presentations, are bad news! There can be no quicker way to completely lose the support of your audience than to irritate them. So, how to avoid such a mistake?
First, know what are the phrases that act as winders on you! If they annoy you, there is a strong chance that they annoy others. Try listening to politicians being interviewed on the radio for an endless supply! The time that you are most likely to hear them is if the interview is not going well, and the politician suddenly feels the need to defend themselves. It is in this heat of battle context that the winders come exploding forth!
Secondly, approach audiences or interviewers with a sense of humility. If the audience feels that you respect them, then there is a significantly lower chance that they in turn, will do anything to provoke you. With fewer provocations, come fewer winders!
In this final point we can see something ironic within the nature of the winder. We use them when someone else has already provoked us into doing so. Frequently, the intended victim well and truly asked for it, deserved it, and got it….. right between the eyes! It is not however, from this deserving victim that the presenter will them find themselves damned; it is from the wider audience! Like the sound of fingernails being dragged down a blackboard, winders not only affect those at whom they are aimed, but also affect everyone within hearing distance.
Verbally, they are weapons of mass destruction, and as with all WMD’s, they are best kept out of commission!