Friday, September 30, 2011

How to Conquer a Verbal Tic, Such as the One Afflicting Mr. “Correct”

As mentioned in previous posts, the No. 1 reason why people do not expunge such an affliction from their system is that they do not even realize they are suffering from one. I bet Pete, the person who inspired the previous post, has no idea how tedious and irritating it is for a listener to put up with his unceasing use of the word “correct” (and unfailingly uttered with the same tonality) when responding to any question in the affirmative.

Two step solution.
Step 1: If you are trying to become a better communicator, especially one who is more pleasing to listen to, the first step is to occasionally ask a fellow employee or a family member to listen in to your phone or other conversations--at random and without giving you advance notice--and provide you with some feedback. Short of recording your conversations, asking others for a critique is probably the easiest and quickest way to determine if you have the case of a verbal virus of any sort.

Step 2: Once you’ve become aware of your disfluency (be it ahs and ums, you knows, constant use of redundant words such as basically and essentially, etc.), the next step is to make a conscious effort to rid yourself of those pesky utterances. For instance, put conspicuous reminders next to your telephone and on the office wall. Joining a Toastmasters club can be very helpful. BTW, another annoying verbal problem, and one that I find even in some well known talking heads, is the repetition of words in the middle of a sentence. Here is an example: “I have no doubt we will succeed if we continue to work hard and- and- and our budget does not get cut any further.”

For regular presenters, finding out whether your speech contains verbal tics is easy: before you begin, discreetly request one or two people in the audience to provide you with some feedback at the end.

© Copyright 2011 V.J. Singal

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