Tag Archives: communication tips

Instantly Improve Your Writing by Eliminating Fillers

Email is an essential workplace communication tool. Office workers typically spend more than 25% of their work week reading and writing email. For some, that number is much higher.


There are risks involved with sending email, especially when messages are unnecessarily long or detailed. Many people skim lengthy communications, or even ignore them. This creates misunderstandings, unclear expectations, and disappointing outcomes.

Unnecessary words and phrases are called fillers. Fillers add to the length and complexity of your message, but have no value. In most cases, you can remove fillers without even rephrasing your sentence.


Eliminating fillers instantly improves your writing.


The word “that” is rarely necessary, yet it appears dozens of times in most emails:

  • I gave you the information so that you would understand what is happening.
  • I gave you the information so you would understand what is happening.


  • Studies show that most people send and receive over 100 emails per day at work.
  • Studies show most people send and receive over 100 emails per day at work.


The word “on” can be a filler word too.

  • I’ll see you on Monday.
  • I’ll see you Monday.


  • He was in the office on Thursday.
  • He was in the office Thursday.

“In order” is always a filler phrase.

  • Henry submitted his receipt at once, in order to get his form approved on time. 
  • Henry submitted his receipt to get his form approved on time. 

“Began to” and “started to” can usually be shortened.

  • She began to run.
  • She ran.


  • He started to ask questions.
  • He asked questions.

Filler words creep in to your email naturally as you write. Attempting to catch them as they occur is frustrating and disrupts your flow of ideas. Instead, draft your email text, and remove the fillers afterwards. The Find function is helpful in detecting specific words and phrases. Try comparing your original email side by side with the final copy, after you remove the fillers. Your final message will be much more crisp!


Stay tuned for future posts about writing in an ‘active voice’ and rephrasing your words to increase clarity!


I Wish I Hadn’t Said That…

How can you communicate effectively while you are emotional?

Well, sometimes you can’t. It’s hard to think coherently, let alone speak or write, when you are angry or upset. The best thing to do when you’re upset is remain quiet, because your ability to listen and respond appropriately is diminished. Unfortunately, most people are likely to do more talking than usual when they’re upset. That can be a lethal combination.


The problem is, as the old saying goes, “Words once spoken can never be reclaimed.” You can’t take words back, no matter how badly you want to. There is a Willie Nelson song that goes:

Forgiving you was easy

But forgetting seems to take the longest time

If it’s possible, wait for awhile before saying anything about the topic. Turn your attention to something else for awhile. Sleep on it if you need to! When you do address what is bothering you, chances are you’ll be far more calm and collected.

There are times when you don’t have the luxury of stepping away from the situation until you’re ready to deal with it. What do you do then?

1) Be specific. “You’re always so inconsiderate” is an unclear message. It’s better to say, “You forgot to pick up the dry cleaning yesterday, and you were 45 minutes late for dinner without calling.”

2) Explain why it matters to you. How did this other person’s actions impact you? Sometimes the connection that seems so obvious to you is not at all clear to anyone else.

3) Keep it short! Give yourself a short amount of time to tell someone what is bothering you. Ten minutes is a good benchmark. It’s better to say too little than too much!