Sunday, January 25, 2009

The advantages of precise language

In the PR business, observing and deconstructing a client's speech patterns is often necessary when they are involved in public speaking—this includes say, a retailer. I found this article, in New Yorker magazine that is pertinent to several of my bugaboos: Correcting Caroline. I am guilty of both from time to time, so I'm doubly sensitive and welcomed the news that there are people who actually study these flaws for a, like, you know, a living.

I don't know if I can totally identify with their conclusions about these habits of speech being artifacts of insecurity or vulnerability. But after hearing a conversation of which one half was almost ALL "like," the rest consisting mostly of pop speech such as "like, shut up!" spoken as a single word in three syllables with the UH being the accented, I could feel myself cringing. Ok, it was a nervous teen-aged girl, riding a chairlift with her mother. But soon she will need to present something to someone she needs to win over to her point of view. Job interviews tend to be places where you feel vulnerable or insecure. Purging these colloquialisms may be a kill-or-cure way to pluck yourself from your peer track, but learning to turn them off under duress is an important skill that will help you attain your goals more swiftly.

Later I will address a similar problem in graphic design.

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