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You Suffer From the Verbal Virus, Am I Right?
The verbal tics we develop without much notice can become highly distracting to those who listen to us.
When the clutter of non-fluencies such as "you know," “kinda," “um," “like," and “so" become repetitive, they destroy our clarity and take away from the message.
It took nearly 50 years, but it finally looks as though “you know” has lost its crown to “right” in the modern-day version of the virus. Some speakers have no idea how often they repeat some empty phrases.
Everyone else does.
The thought is that speakers learn to employ verbal tics as a way to delay speaking as they think things through. As an occasional pause, this delay might actually work, but when repeated often in the same sentence, tics become a crutch that indicates a more serious intrusion.
Like listening to great music with crackling earbuds, the dependence on non-fluencies is a huge distraction that can infuriate listeners.
“Um," “well," and “you know" are bad enough, but when combined with “Does that make sense?” or “Do you know what I’m saying?” or “Am I right?” people are tempted to throw tomatoes.
Speakers of every vintage owe it to themselves to capture their speech on audio. Doing so without an audience is best because the embarrassment can be real. Fortunately, the horror of verbal tics can be erased with some concerted work.
Learning that they repeat a particular non-fluency allows a speaker to practice conversations without it. Like everything else, practice makes perfect.
Unless you’re plagued by multiple tics, eliminating a particular peccadillo can be accomplished in just a few weeks. Every sentence that avoids the twitch is a win. Pretty soon, the wins pile up and victory can be declared. Everyone who listens to you will be thankful. They would prefer to cook with the tomatoes.