Y’know? No – That’s Why You’re Telling Me

microphoneYears ago, people who weren’t used to public speaking or presentations would pepper their speeches with ums, ahs and ers.

The good old days, hmm? The modern equivalent is “you know”. If you’re a regular listener to podcasts as I am you will hear this phrase repeatedly. Americans are particular offenders, but the practice is spreading.

I find it grating. The odd use here and there is okay – although I’d prefer an er or an um – but I listen to podcasts where people use it every few words.

If you listen to broadcasting professionals, such as those who present BBC radio shows for example, you probably won’t hear the phrase. “You know” separates the professionals from the amateurs. To stop using it, or at least to stop over-using it, a presenter needs to slow speech down.

There’s a tendency these days for people to talk too fast. Modernity encourages short attention spans so we all speak quickly, desperate to get our multiple points across. If you listen to old broadcasts or speeches from politicians, you will notice how slowly they speak. Slower speech sounds more authoritative and measured.

Sometimes I find myself using it in speech. It slips in if you haven’t given enough thought to what you are saying. If you’re an offender, keep this in mind:

“You know?” I don’t know. That’s why you’re telling me.

 

The Toast of the Town

I couldn’t have said it better myself…

The working week brought a tale of two different public speaking experiences. Firstly, I ran a training workshop. My audience was small and select – I felt confident, articulate and knowledgeable.

The following day, I attended a meeting. I didn’t agree with what one of the speakers was saying and raised my hand to clarify – at which point he invited me to come up to the mike. Argh, disagreeing with someone in public and then being asked to explain in front of roughly 100 people. Soothing it was not.

I’m talking about public speaking as I’d rather like to make a speech at my wedding. I plan light-hearted and hopefully witty words no longer than five minutes and possibly a multi-media presentation (!). I’ve been planning this speech for a while now and I’ve got a KILLER last line.

But should one voluntarily add the stress of public speaking to one’s wedding day, when there is a get out clause – I could follow tradition where the bride is supposedly the centre of attention, but remains oddly silent. Standing up to speak in front of a lot of people is a bit of a scary prospect. What if I muck up the jokes or I get heckled?!

If an approaching wedding adds incentive to all sorts of self-improvement plans (I will be thinner, more toned, clearer of skin, tighter of triceps, free of diet coke), then public speaking practice and confidence is possibly the most worthy of those goals. Not to mention the enhancement it gives my future career prospects…

And finally – I’ve been enjoying Nigella’s latest TV offering and today made her super-easy coffee ice-cream. I permitted myself a tiny lick of the bowl pre freezing and it’s FAB. I don’t even like coffee either.