Legend has it that when someone asked Michelangelo how he was able to sculpt such beautiful angels from cold, hard marble, he replied “I simply chip away at everything I don’t need and eventually the angel emerges.”
Good speech writing is a lot like sculpting. If you chip away the words and phrases that don’t contribute, your message will emerge. Here are some examples of redundant writing:
- “In the majority of instances.” Writing “usually” is enough to make your point.
- “As you may or may not know.” If you may know, then obviously you may not know.
- “We are trying to attempt a solution.” To try is to attempt.
- “Unexpected emergency.” If you know it will happen, it’s not an emergency.
- “Very unique.” Unique doesn’t mean unusual, it means one of a kind.
— Adapted from “Look for the Angel,” Helen Wilkie, Communi-keys, http://www.mhwcom.com.