I was watching a great Masterclass course the other day by Robin Roberts, anchor of ABC's Good Morning America.
She was talking about her public speaking journey, particularly how she's been able to become more eloquent and refined with her word choice.
She was able to get rid of the um's, the ahhh's and the you know's. It got me thinking.
I say um quite often (working on it) when I'm pulling words and thoughts together. It's a filler, while you're finding the best way to say something, the semantics and aesthetics. But I started to think about "you know?" and how I use it.
It's when I'm not confident in what I'm saying. It's about the message, the idea, the argument at its very core. Not the semantics.
"You know?" is asking the audience to agree with you - "you guys know this too, right? right?"
It's got a question mark, an upward inflection. The '?' is a result of not being 100% confident in yourself and the message. It’s seeking the audience’s agreement, as confirmation from them reaffirms yourself and your message.
When you fully believe in your message and your ability to deliver it, "you know?" naturally falls away. You say less, not more.
Think of speakers like Barack Obama. He is so confident in his ideas and value that he doesn't need that extra head nod from the people in front of him.
But when we are saying "you know?", it's not necessarily a bad thing. It means you are pushing outside the zone of comfort. You're trying new things, beginning to pull something together, making progress.Trying something new.
Every confident communicator and bold communicator once said "you know?" Even Barack Obama.
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