CONFIDENCE AND THE POWER OF YOUR WORDS... CAN BE YOUR STRONGEST WEAPON.
Having once had a lengthy career in Television and Radio, I can’t help but critique today’s so-called broadcasting “experts”. Not only do many of them “screw-up” when it comes to looking professional but many have speaking styles and speech patterns that are irritating and distracting. For instance:
NEVER answer a question or make a comment by starting a sentence with the word, “Well,…...". For instance: If you’re asked a question about why you accepted a job in another city….you might respond like this: “I decided to accept a job in Arkansas’s Capital City when the ABC TV station, channel 7, in Little Rock offered to double my present salary.” Under no circumstances should your reply begin with: “Well, I decided……” WELL sounds weak; WELL is an unnecessary word that contributes nothing to the sentence. If you are a public speaker,someone who is often interviewed on radio or tv, or just a regular citizen….avoid starting ANY of your sentences with “Well". It dilutes all you have to say AND it is a weak and boring word. Be dynamic in everything you say, especially when you begin a sentence.
Too often, a broadcaster sounds completely unprofessional by prefacing sentences with “You know” or “I mean” or “Well, you know” or “You know, I mean…” There again, a pattern of words that contribute NOTHING to the sentence. Most speech patterns are just bad habits we should throw-away before they weaken everything we say.
In recent years, the younger generation created a pattern of speech that is absolutely the most annoying and most contagious speech pattern known to America.
I’m sure you’ve heard young people use this word over and over, in an irritatingly rhythmic pattern: “You know, its “like” something out of “like” the past and “like” everyone either “like” loves it or “like” hates it.” And all this time you, the listener, wants to scream... “like”….ENOUGH! Unfortunately, “like” is still around in spite of the ongoing efforts of many dedicated English Teachers. Don’t “like” LIKE for so long that it "hangs" with you into adulthood!
Even if you’re not a broadcaster or a public speaker….you should listen to yourself, each time you speak. At least once every day, I find something to READ OUTLOUD. I listen… with constructive criticism in mind… to whether or not I am enunciating clearly and whether I’m pronouncing each word correctly.
I also try to incorporate my classic rules of singing when I speak out-loud. That means I’m practicing good breath-control as I speak.
In other words, I take a strong supportive breath-- from the diaphragm—before I speak then--- stagger my breathing throughout each sentence. I talk "on top" of my strong breaths rather than breathe between words or in the middle of my sentences.
If possible, listen to recordings of your voice. Either record a conversation between you and another person or simply record yourself reading out-loud. You’ll be surprised at how you sound…and, most times…you’ll want to make some changes! I think of our voices as persuasive tools that can be our most powerful "weapons".
Yes, It takes a little more effort to stay-on-top but….polishing your silver, regularly, will add to your confidence. It will keep you feeling better about YOU.