I caught Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show the other night during her interview with state senator Hollis French of Alaska.
Besides the fact that she has short hair like me and wears a t-shirt in the picture on her website and says this in her bio...
"She shakes a mean cocktail, drives a bright red pickup, hates Coldplay, loves arguing with conservatives, spends a lot of money on AMTRAK tickets, and dresses like a first-grader."
...there's also this:
"You know, it's funny. Every time we have somebody on from Alaska, they're like *the* most articulate, clear-thinking, clear-speaking person we've yet spoken to."
Did you see that? She said "like!"
My jaw fell open. I quivered gleefully. The host of a nationally televised show said "like." (And "you know," but who's keeping a list?)
I'm not saying if Rachel jumps off a bridge, you should too, but as I've said in the past, an occasional filler is not going to ruin your effectiveness as a communicator.
The most effective speakers are those who aren't afraid to be themselves and aren't trying to be like someone else.
The most effective speakers are those who have a conversation with their audience.
The most effective speakers are those who don't try to put themselves above their audience, but connect in a way that their audience can relate to them.
Like it or not, her informal style is working. Her ratings continue to rise (half of her shows have averaged a higher rating among 25- to 54-year-olds than "Larry King Live" on CNN), and viewership in her time slot has doubled since she came on the air a month ago.
How are you beating the competition?