Have you ever, like, had a conversation with a friend, colleague or stranger that’s been, like, punctuated with so many likes that it’s been, like, hard to follow what they are saying? Like like like.
I interview a lot of people for work – here at Future Women and for a podcast I do about writers and their books. Talking to people is the most delightful part of my job and I think I have a pretty good sense of whether someone’s ideas are landing clearly or not. I also have the not-so-fun task of listening to these recordings afterwards. I cringe every time I hear myself saying “like”, “l mean”, or “you know” – words that constantly pepper my speech and add zero weight to the conversation at hand. They flow out of my mouth unconsciously, again and again. Not only do they add nothing, they undermine what I do have to say and make me sound unsure of myself. For some reason, whenever I hear myself saying one of these nemesis words, I see myself as a bumbling Dodo bird, blundering along towards extinction or as Homer Simpson when he utters “Do’h!”. (More on the psychology of that another time.) I want Do’h and the Dodo out of my life and I want to be proud of, or at least, calmly neutral about the way I speak. I don’t want these incognito words slipping into my sentences without my permission. I want to stop cringing and I want to sound as assured and clear as the people I admire.
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