Jul. 11, 2022

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 people like---me. For instance:

NEVER answer a question or make a comment by starting every sentence with the word-- WELL. 

EXAMPLE: 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 Channel  7, the ABC TV Station,  offered to double my present salary.”  Under no circumstances should your reply begin with: “Well-- I decided----”!   The word 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."   The word WELL 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 unprofessional by prefacing every sentence with “You know” or “I mean” or “Well-- you know” or “You know-- I mean--” There again, these are words that contribute NOTHING to the sentence.  Most speech patterns are simply bad habit words-- we should throw-away before they label us as WEAK-- in 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 ever- 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, want to scream: "LIKE"?!?!?!?--------- ENOUGH!" 

Unfortunately--- “LIKE” is still HANGING-AROUND-- in spite of the ongoing efforts of many dedicated English Teachers. Don’t “like”—LIKE-- for so long---- 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 OUT-LOUD.  I listen--with constructive criticism in mind.  I listen to know if-- I am enunciating clearly, phrasing my sentences effectively, and pronouncing my words correctly.  I also try to incorporate my classic rules of singing when I speak—which means—I practice good breath-control.

FOR INSTANCE-- 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 "grab" quick breaths between words or in the middle of sentences.

Periodically, I listen to recordings of myself.  I either record a conversation between myself and another person or record myself--- speaking out-loud.  It’s the best way to hear my flaws then make changes.  I believe our voices are persuasive tools that can easily-be our most powerful and effective “weapon."

 It takes a little time and effort to STAY-ON-TOP of our professionalism but staying “polished”—both inside and out—helps maintain our confidence. 

PS...The current photo you see on my home page is from my Broadcasting Days.  It's from the days when “lots of hair”---perfectly-styled---- was a requirement and---when a real lady wouldn't be "fashionably-dressed" without her pearls.   Laugh if you wish BUT--I still believe that high standards in the way we look and an ongoing "commitment to excellence"----- is a far-cry better than today's-attitudes that show no-level of professionalism and no-commitment-to--anything.

Sally Miller