So I was thinking about writing this post, and, you know, I couldn't exactly figure out, you know, how to, you know, start it. I mean, you know, starting a post is hard. You have to, you know, grab your audience, and, you know, talk about something, you know, relevant.
Man, I hope you made it through that paragraph. It was as painful to write as I'm sure it was to read.
As you might have guessed, I've been thinking a lot about public speaking lately. Next year after the book comes out, I hope to get some opportunities to go out and do a few signings. Even before that, there are at least three conferences I'm planning on attending, and at the first, ThrillerFest at the end of the month, I'm appearing on a panel. So I've started to pay more attention when I see others speaking in public.
Within the past week, I've had the opportunity to attend a couple of signings. First the Thriller Anthology signing with five great writers - Denise Hamilton, Gregg Hurwitz, Gayle Lynds, Christopher Reich and Christopher Rice, and then the next night Barry Eisler at the Mystery Bookstore. To a woman/man, they were all great speakers. Clear. Funny. Entertaining. Informative.
Great role models.
After I left Barry's signing on Friday night, I turned on the radio and caught part of a sports radio talk show. (I have my sports moments. GO ANGELS!...though we suck at the moment.) They had a caller on the line. Callers are seldom good public speakers, so it didn't surprise me that he was inflicted with YK Syndrome, that is, inserting "you know" after about every fifth or sixth word. What did surprise me was when the host came back on to speak. He seemed to have been infected by the disease. During his first response, he said "you know" seven times. Second response, nine times. Third response, eight. I stopped counting after that. This from a man paid to speak publicly nearly every day.
I'm sure you all have heard speakers with similar issues. It's a crutch, a way to fill the air because you think you need to fill the air. After all you are the speaker. You are the one everyone is looking at. What we fail to remember is that sometimes it's okay to not say anything. A pause without a "you know" filling the void, is thoughtful. It shows the speaker is confident and in control of what they are saying. Whereas dropping the old YK into the mix makes a speaker sound unsure of themselves.
Now I'm not about to start throwing stones here. I've been known to employ the you-know pause on several occasions. But I really try to watch it. And with more talking in front of groups ahead of me, I would love to completely excise this tendency.
So if you're ever talking with me, and, you know, you hear me, you know, fall into the YK Syndrome, you know, knock me up side the head.
Or just tell me to shut up.
Interesting Article on publishing paperback vs. hardback. Click here.