Day 13: 10 Words and Phrases to Avoid in Podcasting

Carlin had the seven deadly words. Words that most podcasters do avoid to keep a G rating. But did you know there are other words you should be avoiding – words that are worse than using the 7 deadly words?

This is not about swear words – each podcast has their own stylesheet on profanity and some podcasts excel with the use of salty language.  These are words and phrases that can help you keep your audience. These are words that by avoiding them can make you sound better versed in your field.


What to avoid while podcasting


Literally, I don’t like this word. There are times this word can be used but most of the time people use it at the wrong time. Literally can be compounded and turns a phrase into a big bag of jibberish.


Just like with literally, actually is a pass-around word. It’s like having a scoop of ice cream on top of your ice cream cake. If you literally like ice cream then actually go for it. If you want to tighten up your speech, ditch these words.

Actual Women are the best…

-Howard Wolowitz, Big Bang Theory


Words like this tell me you do not know where to go with it. Once again I find myself saying this word. If I am in an argument that I don’t see resolving I’ll say “Irregardless”.

This word was added to the Oxford dictionary to give it meaning (since its being used so much). Ain’t is another word that was also put in the dictionary. There is only one phrase where ain’t is acceptable.

Ain’t no mountain high enough”…

Or Something Like That

I apparently said that a lot. Jennifer noticed and called me out. Whenever I started glossing over a news article I would say “Or something like that”. It didn’t get me anywhere and it didn’t add to the conversation.

Once I realized I said that, I could stop myself and take a quick step back to find another option – like actually explaining it or even clarifying things for myself.

Sometimes I go so fast that I can read something the wrong way the first time. During podcast time I start reading the same thing again and it hits me. Since things are live I cannot stop and go back. Correcting myself is a lot better than just stopping and leaving it to “something like that”.


Let your podcasting voice be heard

Any Word You Cannot Pronounce

I do have those “brain fart” moments where I try to say a word like “Physics” and cannot get the word out right. However, if I have words I try and try and just cannot get it out, I can do two things – laugh about it and move on – or – avoid the word.

Both of these ways are acceptable for a “one time” mention. However, if you continue to do that you might find people getting annoyed with it and decide to move away from your podcast.

Honestly (or To Be Honest)

So are you telling me you are not honest during the rest of the show? Do you think by being honest now you are gaining a closer connection with your audience?

Even “to be perfectly honest” is the most confusing phrase of all time. What if you’re NOT perfectly honest? Can you be imperfectly honest?

Google It

Instead of saying “search” do you say “Google it”? Do you say Kleenex over tissue? These are all metonyms. Some companies want to protect their trademark so they frown on you saying “Google it”. In fact this last year someone put a petition together to have Google untrademark their name since it’s so synonymous to searching the internet.

By avoiding those words you might actually be appeasing Google and Kleenex or even when saying your Xeroxing a copy, Putting on a band-aid, eating a Twinkie or Ho-Ho and getting a Jack and Coke. Especially when you make a copy on an Epson, adhering a generic bandage,  eating a little Debbie and drinking rail whiskey and Pepsi.


I think this word should go back to the 80’s where it was contextualized. Totally unneeded.

Serious. I see no reason to say totally. I can total it all up and Totally is a word you can completely avoid.


Avoid the W.A.Y.S.


These are technically not words – they are a series of words that create a new word. Like a GUI (pronounced Gooey) is a graphical user interface or ASAP (as soon as possible). You might know the meaning but your audience might not.

Technical podcasts can throw acronyms out left and right. If you are not up on the jargon then you can get lost easily. Car enthusiasts also have a lot of acronyms.

I learned as a phone support agent to watch out for the WAYS – where customers ask: What Are You Saying?

And So…

You might have been told to not say “Ahh” or “Umm” during your speech but what about at the end of a sentence? What do you say?

I find that after I am done talking I will say “so…” Sometimes to the point where I end up editing out the end of my sentences during interviews.

Some people say “so” and others will say “however”. You might have a trailing word that you use. Understanding that word can help you sculpt the right sentence.


Do you have a word or phrase that you hate to hear in a podcast? What is it? Let me know and I’ll add to the list.

Words and phrases to avoid while podcasting

Words and phrases to avoid while podcasting

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