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What Leader of the House Christopher Pyne would be WELL advised to do

Have you noticed this?


Well, this week I heard Leader of the House and Education Minister Christopher Pyne being interviewed on radio (ABC AM) – and I noticed something even he may not be aware of.

Basically he starts every answer with the same word.

So Can you guess?

Well – it’s “well”.


Look…Here’s just a few…


CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well we’re setting about doing the job that the Australian…

Well Labor are like the people that started…

Well I have spoken to Clive Palmer and…

Well they have pushed for de-regulation and…

Well we haven’t even yet to introduce the..



Well you may think “big deal” – but it helps to be aware of  our speaking habits.

Look, we all have our different “starter words” – words we automatically start our sentences with – often just to be saying something while we are thinking of what to say.

Basically, it can be a distraction for your audience if your use the word too often.

Basically, it can cause your audience to tune out from your real message –  while they count the times you use the “starter word”

Look, starter words are like the ummms and ahhhs we say as “verbal placeholders”.

Look, some words are worse than others.


“Look” – can sound a bit BOSSY!


Look, I’ve been guilty of this too.

I  remember being very grateful when a TV boss – let me know (discreetly) how when I was doing Live Crosses to the studio  that  I’d start every sentence – with SO.

TB today shoot


So, the latest is…

So, the next step is…

When this was pointed out to me – my initial smart-arse response…


I was however grateful for someone taking the time to point out something I hadn’t noticed.


Look, it could have been worse – I could have said LOOK at the start of every sentence.

TB headline technique


When I help executives improve and practise their business presentations – I often point out any annoyingly repeated starter words or repeated gestures. (I’ll discuss repeated gestures in a future post).


Well what can we do to reduce annoying starter words?


1. Well for a start – awareness is vital.

Ask someone to review a speech or interview and  give you feedback.

OR record yourself and listen back.

2. Consciously try to reduce the use of the word

OR replace the repeated word with similar words

3. Get into the habit of being comfortable with silence. Don’t feel you have to say some starte words before you start your “real message” Refrain from starting to speak before you are ready.


Look, you can sum it up with all these R words.


Reduce/ Replace

Refrain from speaking until you are Ready


What starter words have you noticed? – repeated words used by you OR other speakers or presenters  you have listened to.

Please share in the  comments section below.


Look, I haven’t got anything personal against Christopher Pyne. I just use him as a prominent example.

Well what would  Leader of the House Christopher Pyne be WELL advised to do?

Well – be aware of his habit of starting every answer with well and…


Reduce/ Replace

Refrain from speaking until you are Ready


If you are interested you can hear see for yourself how often Chris Pyne starts answers with well.

I love the ABC’s AM program because you can access audio and transcripts of interviews.

Here’s a link to the interview:

Christopher Pyne interview ABC AM

(As the interview progresses, Pyne DOES start some sentences without WELL – but you’ll see how often he uses well. )


Look I’d really love to connect.


TB LL mosaic



So If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.


Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication etc. I like to help people COPE.






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