Sunday, December 28, 2008

What? "You Know" Can Hurt You

There are few things more annoying than hearing someone interviewed in the media who repeats a verbal tic over and over again.

Who could forget (try as we might) John McCain's incessant use of "My friends" during the recent presidential campaign?

But McCain can't hold a candle to Senator-wannabee Caroline Kennedy. The New York Daily News has an article today in which she explains why she wants to replace Hillary Clinton. The Post (unhelpfully for Ms Kennedy) attached an audio recording of Caroline making her case.

By our count she managed to squeeze in the phrase "you know" 43 times in the 4 minute and 58 second recording. That works out to one "you know" every 9.25 seconds -- undoubtedly a world record. If you want to subject yourself to it -- listen to the clip below.


video

Generally, people use verbal tics (like "you know," "like," "Um," and "Ah" to fill up air time while they think about what they want to say next. In almost every case -- simply saying nothing would be much better. These tics can be a hard habit to break -- especially if the person employing them doesn't have someone on their staff whose job it is to hound them until they stop.

We hope that Ms Kennedy is practicing her answers before she meets with the press. But in addition to handlers who advise her on substance -- she should be forced to practice all of her answers until she can make it through a five minute session without saying stuff like, um, you know what I mean? You know?

UPDATE: The New York Post now says that they did a 40-minute interview with Ms Kennedy on Saturday during which she said "you know" more than 200 times. If she could have skipped the phrase she would have been out of there in 15 minutes.



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