Trigger Words: What are They and When Can I Pull the Trigger?

Now that you have been exposed to what trigger words are, it is time that we discuss how they should be used. It can be argued that your diction while speaking publicly can be more influential on the audience’s reaction to your speech than body language, preparation, or even the sources gathered. Without successful word choice, good body movement is just a game of charades. Without good diction, preparation is just a waste of time. Without orchestrating your words in a way that the audience can respect, research is just a bundle of useless information. The gravity of diction is heavy on the shoulder of a public speaker and trigger words can sometimes be viewed as a ticket out.

Letting loose a trigger word (whether positive or negative) pulls a reader’s attention (again whether that attention is positive or negative depends on the words chosen). When using words that are fragile in nature, great evaluation should be taken in examining the effect the word could have on an individual or an entire audience. Positive trigger words can be managed to pull in the listeners and grab their attention, but use them too much and they become dull. Positive trigger words work wonders for reaching your hand through the listener’s threshold and snatching their attention from them, but there’s nothing that lulls an audience to sleep or that loses listeners quicker than someone who repeats themselves, speaks in circles, or doesn’t expand their vocabulary. Negative trigger words should be avoided all together unless it is a quote, you are in a context where the word is appropriate, or you are speaking against the proponents of the phrase.

Trigger words are risky and unpredictable in any context. If the speech is informative: give your information, support it with sources/facts, summarize your main points, and sit down. Any loaded words can be more easily managed to be disregarded in this form. If the speech is persuasive: use an attention-getter (humor, shock, etc.) state your beliefs, reinforce your opinion with sources/facts, use positive trigger words scattered throughout, summarize why your opinion is correct based on what you have spoken of, and sit down.

Do as the Speak King says, or you could be pulling the trigger on your own public speaking “execution.”

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Filed under Public Speaking in the Real World, The Art of Public Speaking

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