The first part of this article addresses the fact that over-articulation, 5 dollar words & choppy speech doesn’t make you sound smart.
I got a bit of negative feedback from that article! Some people took the title literally & told me just how much they love the Oxford comma! I want you to keep the love! Love the Oxford comma! We can’t use it in speech anyway; I just used that title to get some attention! 🙂
Side note: I love semicolons! I love them in writing & I love them in speech. Cuz I always recommend losing your conjunctions from your speech. Anyway, my point is that what people consider to be good speech is not equivalent to being an amazing communicator. No!
Many people I’ve met equate good speech with having good pronunciation. It’s often the first thing people say to me.
They want me to help them communicate better & they think improving their pronunciation is going to solve their problems. Those crimes? Over-articulation, 5-dollar words, choppy speech? They’re just going ‘to impede your progress in life because people aren’t going to understand your message or follow your call to action.
That kind of speech causes stiffness in the room. Listen to your colleagues. Listen when they talk to you during casual conversation & then how they speak when presenting to the team. You’ll hear the difference. Record yourself doing the same. You’ll hear it.
There’s also the other side of the coin. Yes, you must continue improving your communication skills to get ahead in life. But please stop randomly & publicly making fun of others for their speech.
Criticizing people for their speech is just mean.
When the lovely Ashley Milne-Tyte approached me about a podcast about women being criticized for the use of “upspeak”, “glottal fry” & “filler words” I was appalled. I guess I had my head in the sand because I just help people who come to me to improve their ability to get their message across. I didn’t know that for YEARS there’s been an ongoing polarized debate about whether people like or dislike upspeak. Or glottal fry.
It’s a bit tedious isn’t it? Talking about whether you like someone else’s speech or not? It also sounds like a way to make a person feel better about themselves. If I criticize you I look better.
In the article Speech “Improvement” Apps Like Ummo Are Sexist, Racist, and Generally Bad for Humanity Nora Caplan-Bricker was publicly insulted for using the word, “like” in her speech by some jerk who was friends with her parents. You have it all wrong all you jerks! Great speech? It’s about the ability to get your message across & get people to follow your call to action.
For the record, I don’t advocate name calling. Sorry I called you a jerk. Confession: I use the word, “like”. It happens! These days we’re using it to replace, “about.” As in, “I walked for, like, 2 hours.” It’s something I’m trying to change, mind you, but I do use it.
Speech Apps are Not Racist & Bad for Humanity.
Improving our speech & ability to communicate is utterly necessary for our success. I’m not the “filler word police.” But if you’re spending too much time on your fillers & not enough time on your content words people aren’t processing your information. They aren’t following your call-to-action. You’ve got calls-to-action! They are: Like Me!! Think I’m smart!!
[bctt tweet=”Stop criticizing others’ speech (or anything else for that matter) unless it’s privately & with love.” via=”no”]
Speech apps are not the end-all but they are a good place to start. I want to make one myself 🙂
9 Secret Steps to Influencing Others
Want to be more influential? We all want to communicate our most important messages in a way that encourages others to take action. Whether that action is voting for our candidate or picking up milk from the store, the words we use and how we speak play a huge role in getting the job done.
Speaking is about Relationships
I was at a family party once. A bunch of us were sitting around & my cousin, Spence was reminiscing with me about the old days when we were little. I used the word, “badminton” /badmin?n/ and a new member of the family, started cracking up! She repeated the way I said “badminton” and then she proceeded to spell it for me: “B! A! D! M! I! N! T! O! N! There’s an “n” in the word! It’s pronounced. “badminTONE!” she said. Everyone was silent for a bit and my sister quietly said, “I say /badmin?n/, too” (Thank you, Kel.)
In Standard American English we say: sen?ns for sentence. We don’t say: senTENCE. We say moun?n instead of mounTAIN. And we say /badmin?n/. (The question mark represents a glottal stop which replaces the letter “t.”) How we pronounce our “t”s and our vowels are impacted by intonation. Where we place emphasis.
The funny part is: when I was a kid my cousin Spence used to crack me up by saying, “You put the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble.” It still cracks me up. Making fun of someone’s pronunciation reminds me of 4th grade when my friends and I used to discuss whether we said, “reydiator” or “raediator.”
I’m still upset by the public beating. Being publically laughed at and insulted is horrifying! I’d like to start a petition to get people to stop criticizing other people’s speech! It’s silly, superficial & a waste of time! But I also need to get over it. She’s just under the pervasive misconception that we pronounce each letter the same in each position in a word. And I need not to care what other people say about me. Hard to do, but a mission, nonetheless!
Stop criticizing others’ speech (or anything else for that matter) unless it’s privately & with love.
Communication Skills Need to be Continually Improved
We can never stop improving our communication skills. As our world changes so must our ability to get what we need out of life. It’s evolution. Our bodies go into fight or flight when we’re in challenging situations like job interviews, giving speeches, first dates, etc. This needs to stop, don’t you think. Our Neanderthal selves need to stop taking over our brains when we really just need to communicate very well.
An Introduction to Accent Reduction
This brief introduction will get you started on the road to speaking Standard American English.