Do You Have Word Whiskers?


(By Pat Bryson) A few weeks ago, I was role-playing a presentation with one of my salespeople when I noticed some “word whiskers.” At least, that’s what my old speech teacher would have called them. These are the words we use to fill the silence while we try to think about what we want to say next. These “word whiskers” weaken our message. We need to eliminate them from our conversations with clients, especially when we are presenting our campaigns. What are these sneaky words?

“We’re just going to “throw in” these 10 free spots per week.”

Notice how the use of “just” and “throw in” diminishes the importance of what we are giving to our clients. “Throw in” implies little thought and less value.

Another set of “word whiskers” I heard was “This page is kind of a ….”. 

It is or it isn’t. “Kind of” weakens our message. 

There is nothing wrong with a few seconds of silence. We need to paint word pictures with our proposals and campaigns.  We need to sound certain of our recommendations.

“Mr. client, the management of WXXX has decided to join in your campaign by adding 12 additional selling messages and paying for them ourselves.”

Doesn’t this make bonus spots sound much more impressive? And these ARE at our expense! There is no such thing as a “free” commercial, as any manager will tell you.

We all need to record ourselves practicing our proposals BEFORE we present to our clients. Watch for your own personal “word whiskers”. They may be “kind of“, “like“, “sort of“, “just“, “uh…. the list can go on.  These tiny words can sabotage our message and drive our clients to distraction. Think about how carefully our on-air compatriots choose their words. We should take a lesson from them.

In addition to what we say, it is very much how we say it. Say it with gusto!

Happy Selling!

Pat Bryson is the CEO of Bryson Broadcasting International, a consulting firm that works with sales managers and salespeople to raise revenue. She is the author of two books, “A Road Map to Success in High-Dollar Broadcast Sales” and “Successful Broadcast Sales: Thriving in Change” available on her website. Read Pat’s Radio Ink archives here.


  1. As a buyer I hate the word “free”. I’ll readily correct sales reps who use that word by saying we’ll take the free spots and cancel the paid ones. They can be bonus, value-add, audience recaps…but if I give you even a $1 order they are no longer “free”. Even BOGO-like offers are simply overall lower-rate spots with nothing free.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here