Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Recent Case of Verbal Virus -- Meet Mr. "Correct"

In the past, I’ve written about people who suffer from such disfluencies as beginning almost every sentence they utter with the word “actually,” “basically,” and so on.

Well, the other day, I got a phone call from a young manager, probably in this mid-thirties, well educated and extremely intelligent, who was looking for an executive coach in connection with a presentation he was to make to a large audience. During that half-hour conversation, I noticed he had one glaring shortcoming: every question I put to him was answered with the word “correct” (that is, if he was replying in the affirmative). A couple of days later, we had a face-to-face get acquainted meeting—an opportunity I offer to every potential client located in the Greater Houston area. One of the many things I wanted to observe in this meeting, which was at a Starbucks, was whether the spate of “corrects” during the previous phone conversation was a result of his having a bad day or whether it was a pathological affliction. Well, this exec, let’s just call him John, did not disappoint. During the 45-minute conversation, I must have asked him dozens of questions relating to his background, his career aspirations, his present job, etc., most of which he replied in the affirmative and each time that was the case, the response was “correct.”

Not only is such an affliction extremely irritating to the listener, it also limits the speaker’s quality of expression. Imagine the vocal variety, varied facial expression, and other nonverbals he could have employed had he answered my questions with such alternative responses as: yes or yeah; absolutely; that’s right; sure thing; and of course, correct.

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

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