Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Practical Wisdom From Seth Godin - "Um" and "like" and being heard

I subscribe to Seth Godin's daily Blog, and read it religiously.  Today's post really struck a chord with me, and I knew I had to share it with readers of The White Rhino Report.

Seth is addressing the deterioration of language, and how poor verbal communication skills negatively impact one's personal brand.

"You can fix your "um" and you probably should.
Each of us now owns a media channel and a brand, and sooner or later, as your work gains traction, we'll hear your voice. Either in a job interview or on a podcast or in a video.
For a million years, people have been judging each other based on voice. Not just on what we say, but on how we say it.
I heard a Pulitzer-prize winning author interviewed on a local radio show. The tension of the interview caused an "um" eruption—your words and your approach sell your ideas, and at least on this interview, nothing much got sold.
Or consider the recent college grad who uses thirty or forty "likes" a minute. Hard to see through to the real you when it's so hard to hear you.
Alas, you can't remove this verbal tic merely by willing it away."
I encourage you to click on this link and read his simple solution to eliminating these verbal tics.

Seth Godin Blog

The deterioration of verbal communication has long been a pet peeve of mine.  Each "um" and "like" I hear is like the sound of fingernails on a blackboard.  Try as I might not to do so, when I hear someone consistently use these verbal fillers, I immediate make negative judgments about their intelligence and worthiness of my further attention and time.

These sloppy verbal habits are as destructive to the enterprise of meaningful communication as Donald Trump is to the enterprise of political dialogue.

Please join me in fighting against the dumbing down of language in our everyday discourse with one another.  I encourage you to ask someone you trust to let you know if you are unconsciously guilty of interjecting "um" or "like" or "you know" into your conversations. Then follow Seth's guidance to replace these verbal tics with brief moments of silence until you can mentally assemble the next cogent sentence.

If you have been in my presence for any length of time, you may have observed me correcting someone who exhibits these negative habits.  I do it as a favor to friends I know are intelligent, but whose level of verbal sophistication does not match their cognitive abilities. I was fortunate to learn from a whole series of excellent teachers who stressed the power of correct communication, so I feel a responsibility to "pay it forward."

Please, do not sell yourself short.  If you are indeed "wicked smaht," then talk like someone who is "wicked smaht"! Ya know?

Thanks for listening.


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