I find that as I get older, I run the risk of becoming more rigid in how I think people should present. One of the areas where I am most challenged is listening to younger presenters who use all of the common generational affectations: “Like, so, he was like.” I’m always conflicted because, on one hand, I want to stop them from using these words and expressions, while on the other hand, it does represent a form of communications that many people are comfortable saying and others comfortable hearing. Just the other day a very well respected attorney was explaining something to me and said “I was like ‘No I don’t want to do that’…” I wrestle with this constantly.
As with all issues, there are degrees. These offending words are also words that people tend to use repeatedly in a presentation. They don’t just say “like” once, they like say it like 30 times. Everyone would agree that overusing any word in a presentation should be avoided. It is also easy to stop someone who wants to start each and every sentence with “so”. “So, the reason we decided to pursue the ….” “So, the basic idea we are presenting today is…”
It is also clear cut (to me) to stop people who insist on saying “I was like distracted by the question” to ask them to drop the “was like”. That’s nonsensical English.
But, do I go farther and suggest they eliminate all use of those words except where they are supposed to occur? I don’t know. Perhaps you do.
Eliminating those kinds of things helps. But the use of these expressions is so prevalent that the speaker still has a ton of them even after purging the overtly offending ones. On the other hand, people need to be comfortable and confident when they present. I’d hate to stick train a person to never say “like” and then when she says “you will like the way the new program works…” to flinch in horror that she just committed a mistake.
So, I am like totally conflicted by all of this.