The Orion

Slower speech for the sake of smart.

Zachary Phillips

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When I think of my generation,
I think of fear. The fear of awkward silences is what comes to mind,
specifically.

It paralyzes today’s youth
from making phone calls, forcing them to resort to text messaging. It makes
them feel the constant need to “do something” whilst hanging out with
a friend, as if hanging out with a friend isn’t already “doing
something.”

It is also what prompts them
to string along their sentences in a jumbled blur of breathless words, never
pausing to gather their thoughts and ideas.

Although one’s own quirks and
misgivings are hard to discern, it’s no secret that this generation of college
students tends to talk absurdly fast. And when their brains can’t quite keep up
with the pace their mouths are putting down, they catch up with verbal fillers
such as the omnipresent “like.”

This tendency to string on
sentences with obsolete fillers seems to stem from that very same fear of
silence that leads students to demonize phone calls in favor of texts.

Having a mile-a-minute mouth
is normally innocuous, but it can lead to complications in the professional
world.

Take my boss, for example. She
admittedly assumes that people who rely on sandwiching every other world with a
“like” are illiterate, and thus haven’t learned proper use of the
English language.

Forcing this assumption was
probably one of the worst first impressions I’ve made in my life thus far.

For the sake of future
careers, or simply the sanctity of intelligent conversation, this generation of
college students needs to learn to slow down their speech.

Despite what this generation
tends to assume, pausing mid-sentence to formulate your thoughts isn’t actually
awkward. It’s another “A” word entirely: articulate. A two second
pause every once in a while sounds a lot better than buck-shooting a conversation
with “likes” or “ums.”

When in a peer-to-peer
situation, articulation is never going to be the end-all-be-all. Professional
settings, however, will not grant the same level of grace.

When talking to a professor or
future employer, slowing down and taking the time to formulate your sentences
can’t hurt. Employers want someone who thinks about what they say. They want
someone who can speak intelligently.

They don’t want someone whose
speech makes them feel like they just ran a foot race.

Zachary Phillips can be reached
at
[email protected]
or @ZachSPhillips on Twitter.

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Slower speech for the sake of smart.