How many times have you been to a meeting or event where the M.C., quite possibly a very bright, capable person and an excellent speaker, has used humor to outline the program for the evening, sounded totally experienced and professional in front of the room and then, to get the ball rolling, said, "So, without further ado, please welcome..." and gave the next speaker's name?

       What's wrong with that?" you might ask.  Nothing... or a lot. It depends what kind of speaker you want to be.   

       That small, over-worked, trite phrase immediately identifies you as a less than cutting-edge speaker.   It's not the only 20th century phrase still assaulting our ears in the 21st century. There are many others. One is "awesome!" How many times a day do you hear someone say something is "awesome" when it really isn't? Awesome used to be reserved for something spectacular, mind-blowing, inspirational, one-of-a-kind. Now we give it to our breakfast cereal and toothpaste.

       Most good speakers try to avoid over-worked words or phrases because it's a sign of laziness and lack of creativity. No one gets punished or penalized for it. But audiences are smart. They expect more from the speaker than just a repetition of the same things they've heard for years or can hear every day out in the street.

       If you're the M.C. and need to move the meeting along, forget "without further ado." What might you say instead? How about, "It's now my pleasure to introduce...", or "Let's begin with...", or "Let's move on to...".  Doesn't that sound better? Or... here's an idea! Make up your own! 

       If you want, you can simply describe the next item on the agenda without any other preamble. You don't always need a transitional phrase. The audience will get that you're moving on to the next thing without you pointing a big verbal arrow at it.

       As for 'awesome'... it isn't going away any time soon. But does it really belong in a professional presentation in front of an audience that came to learn something important from you?  Probably not, unless what you're talking about is, in fact, truly out of this world!

       It's your choice. Be creative!  Find the words and phrases that are most comfortable to you. One of the clues to being a unique and sexy speaker is to use language that makes you stand out from the crowd.  Your audience will remember and applaud you for it!