Occupying Oxygen And Aggravating Listeners


Considering that I am in the “business” of, um, public speaking, I find myself paying attention to how it is that people speak publicly.

And in all that paying attention I have noticed how often we use “nonsense” words … words that operate  in speech much like ellispses (….) or commas (,) do in writing: they fill the air but add no meaning.

So here are some of the most common words or phrases that we often use while communicating yet serve no purpose other than to occupy oxygen and aggravate listeners.

Some of the most common “nonsense words”:

You know

Type thing

Know what I mean?

Like . . .  

You know what I’m saying?

And my new (least) favorite:  right?  Have you noticed how often people add “right” at the conclusion of their sentences? You see it among TV commentators, radio announcers, politicians, and pastors.  These days, I can’t hear it without feeling that somehow I am being spoken down to … as if I am so far behind the speaker that he or she has to ensure that I am on board with the “right?” at the end.

And the list goes on.

What nonsense word or phrase do I hear come out of my mouth just a little too often when I listen to recordings of my own sermons?  In fact.

So here’s to fewer words.  And better communication.  Right?