If you’re old enough, you may recall when you had to send in your VHS tapes to America’s Funniest Home Videos through the mail. Back in the early days of the show, I remember seeing a video of a woman giving a speech where, at the end of every phrase, she giggled and said, “Oh, my.” Before too long, her audience caught on to the idiosyncrasy and started to giggle themselves. After a couple more phrases, the audience was guffawing, which just seemed to make her more nervous and caused her increase her idioms to a rapid-fire pace. The audience howled.
At the time, I was a student of public speaking, taking several classes during my college career. The video was hysterical. And sad. And a little scary. What was it that I did – without even knowing – that would throw my audience into hysterics? What was my “giggle”? Would anyone be kind enough to tell me so I didn’t become a laughing stock?
We all do it. Suddenly our mouth goes dry and we smack our lips, we begin to talk like a “Valley Girl” (if you remember VHS tapes, you remember Valley Girls) and we like “like” everything, we run every sentence together connected by “and” after “and” after “and,” or we incorporate into our verbiage the great nemesis of public speaking… the dreaded “um.” Even the best can sometimes throw in a little “so,” when headed into the final stretch. It’s just hard sometimes to shut it down.
So how do we? How do we stop the giggles, the “oh, mys,” the lip-smacking, tongue-twisting irritations that just won’t leave us alone? Read the rest of this entry »