I listen to talk radio a fair amount, and it's often about politics. When the sound bites get played my mind does a little comparison:
What a person's reply sounds like when I ask them a question
What a politician's reply sounds like when a reporter asks them a question.
I realize that politicians have a lot to deal with and much to consider. Obviously it's no fun to put your foot in your mouth with the cameras rolling. But I don't think they realize what dopes they sound like when they try to think on their feet.
Reporter fires a question...
"Well, aaaah, we attempted in the aaaah last session to aaaah discuss all the aaaah ramifications of a plan that aaaah would encompassaaaah all theaaaah..."
All I'm sayin' is if a politician wanted to come across as really honest and plain spoken he or she should do this: Pause for a moment and then utter a complete sentence with no guttural place holders. But, to pause is to appear to be guilty, of something, even if no accusation is made. This must be why the answer must come immediately, even if it's more eeeeh's and aaaaah's than actual substance.
Come to think of it, this is advice that lot's of people should take. For example, people who terminate a question mid-stride with an "er". Waiter says, "You finished workin' on that er....". And of course, grown adults who say "goes" instead of "said" and so-called professionals who pepper their sentences with as many "like"s as a mid-eighties valley girl. So if you're just skimming at this point I'll get your attention with the bold print.
It's OK to pause and formulate an answer before you open your mouth.
People might think you're being shifty or that you're slow at first, but before long folks with any brains at all will start to respect you for your concise, intelligent answers.
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