Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vocal Pauses... In Writing

As a public speaking instructor, one thing I try to drill into the heads of my students is the importance of avoiding vocal pauses. There have been numerous times when I have heard people speak (not just students) and they use some many word fillers, I just start counting how many are used. I find the vocal pauses are so distracting, I have trouble concentrating on the message; sometimes I even tune it out completely.

I always feel a sense of accomplishment whenever one of my students gives a speech with no vocal pauses. Obviously, the individual who delivered the speech deserves the credit. Still, I feel they have heard some of my message.

Then, of course, there is the other extreme. The student who uses a word filler almost every other word. I try to bring it to the individual’s attention and work with the student to stop doing it, but sometimes it just doesn’t mater.

Yesterday was a first for me. I received an e-mail from a student and the e-mail began, “Hey, Umm”. I can handle the “Hey”. In informal conversations conducted via e-mail (and in person as well) this is acceptable. The “Umm,” on the other hand bothered me. Here I talk about the importance of avoiding vocal pauses in speeches and a student uses one in an e-mail?

I have never seen correspondence where a person uses a word filler in written form, unless quoting what someone else said. It was an interesting experience and one that did not earn the student and ‘Brownie Points’ with the teacher.