The man is an expert in his field. An engineer with more than a dozen years of experience. His work on jobsites long ago proved he knows his stuff. Yet to those of us listening to his presentation, he came across as almost incompetent. Why? A bad speaking habit he didn’t realize he had – because he’d never made the effort to listen to what he actually said. ขายพวงหรีด
In his very first sentence, while explaining the title of his presentation, that engineer used the phrase “ya know” three times. After that third “ya know,” the man next to me mumbled under his breath, “If I knew, I wouldn’t be sitting here trying to figure out what you’re talking about.
An actual count by that guy next to me – supported by the penned tick marks he made on an otherwise blank note pad – that engineer said “ya know” 31 times during the next 15 minutes. After that, the guy quit counting in disgust.
The result was brutal. The speaker had all but lost his audience. And we were looking at our watches dreading the next hour before we’d get a break.
“Ya know” is just one of a half dozen similar expressions common among many people under 40. Others include “like,” “kind of like,” “and stuff,” “as I said,” and those close cousins to “ya know,” “I mean,” and “know what I mean?” Those of us on my side of 40 are most often guilty of “um” and “ahhh.”
Another problem expression common among those on the shy side of 40 is “funner.” Example: “Nothing is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.” In today’s world it’s, “Nothing is funner than a barrel of monkeys.”
Oh, and while I’m unloading on how poorly we speak these days, I need you to be patient with me while I describe one more such sin. You guessed it. The often misused “need.” “I need you to do this.” “I need you to get such and such.”
Forget “need!” Wipe it out of your vocabulary. ..except for expressing a select few ideas such as “children need affection.” That’s a real need. “I need you to get this” is better said as, “Please get that for me?” In researching “I need you to…” I discovered it’s a southern colloquialism. Avoid colloquialisms when you speak.
With the exceptions of “funner” and “need,” those other quirks I mentioned are nothing more than verbal pauses, resting points while your mind tries to formulate what you want to say next. Want to lose your verbal pauses? All of ’em? Just turn them into silent pauses. Instead of saying “ya know, ” or “ahhh,” or any of the others, say nothing. Just pause – silently – for that second while you gather your thoughts before moving on.
As for the engineer, after I explained to him what he was doing, he hung a sticky note on his computer screen next to the phone he uses much of the day. That note contained just two words: Ya Know! In less than a month, he cut his use of that phrase to almost zero. You can do the same with any poor speaking habits. But you have to recognize them before you can control them, so listen carefully to every word you say. Your audience does. Know what I mean?