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The verbally clueless

by Miki Saxon

Much of what I write, on a variety of subjects, involves communications, whether directly or indirectly.

While the inability to write coherently, let alone elegantly, is fast becoming the norm, the verbal skills of the younger, highly wired set are getting downright depressing—you could replace Gabby, in Sunday’s Grand Avenue with a large majority of the population.

I borrowed the following paragraph from an interview between Maria Bartiromo and Klaus Schwab and annotated it, so you would have some idea of the impressive discourse you’ll soon be hearing—my apologies to Mr. Schwab…

What are the most important issues facing the world economy?

Uh, the World Economic Forum did like some research, with Citigroup and Marsh & McLennan to, you know, keep track of major global risks, and we have identified like 23 different risks, like global warming, terrorism, oil price shocks, uh, a hard landing for China, and so on and all of them will be on the agenda. Davos has, uh, one, uh, specific function: We look at all the, uh, issues on the global agenda, trying to see, you know, priorities and like find, ah, solutions. There’s going to be, ah, 2,400 people—like half business and half other, ah, stakeholders in the, ah, global society, and that includes like 25 heads of state. You have, ah, practically every major government like represented.

If you think the above is depressing, think about one of these wordless wonders similarly mangling a presentation to your best customer.

I certainly don’t have any quick or easy solutions to offer, but I would suggest that you reconsider just how much communications your people do wired and how much they need to return to verbalizing, whether by phone or in person.

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