Do Your Business Presentations Carry Crutch-Cargo?

Do your business presentations carry Crutch-Cargo?

Worse! Do you have a case of Crutch-Cargo and don’t know it? But your colleagues, customers, and prospects know you have a bad case of Crutch-Cargo!

How is this damaging your career? Business? Reputation?

What is Crutch-Cargo?

Crutch-Cargo can be unnecessary words, phrases, or utterances used when you speak. In other words, crutch words.

Examples of Crutch-Cargo:

Here are some examples of my Crutch-Cargo:

Unnecessary Words: So, Anyway, Basically, Actually, Amazing, etc.

Unnecessary Phrases: “Does that make sense?” “You Know.” “So on and so forth.”

Unnecessary Utterances: Um, Uh, Ah, etc.

We use them out of habit or when we are nervous. Crutch-Cargo makes us sound unsure and look unconfident to others.

Catch Crutch-Cargo

  1. Selfie Yourself: in my previous post, A Selfie-Strategy to Improve your Presentations, I recommended that you record every business presentation and watch it.
  2. Transcribe the Selfie. You may have written your speech – this is what you intended to say. A transcription is what you actually said – flaws included!

Most business presenters do not rehearse – they wing-it. Winging-it is why they suck!

Correct Crutch-Cargo

  1. Highlight Crutch-Cargo. With a highlighter (you choose the color), identify unnecessary words, phrases or utterances. Also, look out for:
    • Overused/trite words and phrases (Ladies & Gentleman)
    • Using past tense – It takes more words to say it in past tense.
  2. Make a Crutch-Cargo List. Make a list of your go-to crutch words. Make a list of alternative words and phrases. In most instances, eliminate the Crutch-Cargo.
  3. Rehearse Crutch-Cargo-Free. Most business presenters do not rehearse – they wing-it. Winging-it is why they suck! CEO’s who wing-it, can also suck. But no one has the courage to tell them. (Does the fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, sound familiar?) Review your Crutch-Cargo list during rehearsals (Stay tuned for a future post: How to rehearse your business presentation).  Video record this rehearsal. Practice the Crutch-Cargo-free presentation.
  4. Join Toastmasters ( They provide a safe environment to practice your presentations and build confidence.
  5. Coins for Crutch-Cargo. Have your friends and colleagues call you out and collect money if you use Crutch-Cargo. Make a game out of it and have fun.
  6. Go Crutch-Cargo-Free in Daily Life. We’ve gotten these bad habits through everyday practice in conversations. This is why they are so hard to break. Go Crutch-Cargo-Free in daily conversations.

Let’s continue the conversation. What is your experience with Crutch-Cargo? How did you fix it?


Ed Tate is an award-winning International Opening and Closing Keynote Speaker.
His expertise is Leadership & Business Presentation Skills.