Jun. 22, 2020

WOW PEOPLE WITH YOUR WORDS AND HOW YOU USE THEM

Having 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 irritate and disgust listeners, viewers, and...me.  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 could respond:  “I  accepted 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 is 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 who is responding to a question--avoid starting ANY of your sentences with “Well".  “WELL” dilutes all you have to say AND it is a very- weak and boring word. Be dynamic in everything you say, especially when you begin a sentence.

Too often, a broadcaster sounds unprofessional by prefacing every sentence 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 again---  in the most- irritating and rhythmic pattern:  “You know, its “like” something out of “like” the past… and it’s “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" around you--“LIKE”-- into adulthood!

Even if you’re not a broadcaster or a public speaker….you should listen to yourself-- 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, phrasing my sentences, and pronouncing my words correctly.  I also try to incorporate my classic rules of singing when I speak--meaning I must practice good breath-control.

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 grabbing a breath between words or in the middle of my sentences.

Whenever possible, listen to recordings of your voice.  Either record a conversation between you and another person or simply record yourself speaking out-loud. You’ll be surprised at how you sound…and sometimes…you’ll want to make changes.  I believe our voices are persuasive tools that can easily-be our most powerful and successful "weapon".

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.

PS...This photo is from my Broadcasting Days.  It's from the days when "perfect" hair was a requirement and...when a real lady wouldn't be  "fashionably-dressed" without her pearls.  You may laugh if you wish BUT...I still believe that high standards and a "commitment to excellence" is a far-cry better than today---with no-standards and  no-commitment-to-anything.

Sally Miller