Oh thank God it’s not just me!

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When did this Valley Girl delivery become the accepted norm? When Alicia Silverstone did it in Clueless, it was a p-a-r-o-d-y. She was laughing at these bozos. Maybe an entire generation missed the joke.

Stop. Tape yourself delivering a section from your presentation and play it back. Is your tone interrogative when it should be declarative? Are you saying “like” “you know” “kind of” “sort of” or any of the myriad other verbal tics with noticeable frequency?

Then stop doing it.

Really.

Stop.

Human speech is a learnt behaviour. You arrive on this planet mute – apart from the highly effective screaming thing. You don’t even learn to laugh until a couple of months in. So if somewhere along the way, you have developed a speech pattern that makes you sound like some kind of vacuous simpleton, learn a new one. Quickly. Because there a couple of things you are not ever going to see on your television screen:

“Good evening, it’s Friday the 14th of November and this is the 10 o’clock news … I think?”


“Uuuummm … Ya, we, like, sort of, can? Ya know?”

If clear, declarative, unequivocal speech is what we expect, what we demand, from the professionals in our society, you cannot afford to stick out like some kind of Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel in that society. Here endeth the rant.