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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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Fast Talk?

Have you ever noticed what I am writing about in this column? Today, it seems to me that people under 40 years of age tend to talk faster than older men and women. It first occurred to me while watching television. Reporting of traffic conditions, usually laid out by younger reporters, tend to talk faster than older newscasters. I have thought about this for some time and wondered why the fast talk?

There are probably many reasons. First, as I write this column on the yellow legal pad I always use, it came to me that I write slower than a person can type the same words. Could it be that more young people type letters and even schoolwork today than years ago? With computers and more research on the Internet, that is a real possibility.

Another reason could be texting messages on cell phones and other portable equipment. If you ever see someone “texting,” they will be typing much faster than handwriting. In some cases, they type faster than people talk. Could it be that fast texting or typing causes a person to speak faster? I am not sure, but I do know that the talk is faster.

As I thought more about “fast talk” I felt that social interchanges could be another factor. Today, there are less personal face to face exchanges in our everyday lives. First, texting, in my judgment, takes away from personal interchanges in conversation.

Next, so much of business is done today without face-to-face management. In the past, it was impossible to manage without appearing regularly at the work site. I can remember back in the 70s when I was responsible for the Asia-Pacific profit center of Avon, the cosmetics company, I was constantly on the road. Today, with emails, texting and even TV interface over the Internet, management does not have to visit far away sites as regularly as in the past.

Relying on type written messages – again speeds up the talking. And, it is not just English in the United States. While in China two years ago, one of our tour guides, a young Chinese woman, was fluent in English and was a fast talker. As for texting and typed emails, English was all over China.

Reflecting back, it is almost like Morse code was during World War II. Perhaps that was the beginning of today’s fast talk. In those days, messages could be sent electronically with great speed.

It is interesting how the different forms of electronic communications have changed our lives. If face-to face communications over the internet ends up playing a greater role in how we communicate with each other, it could be that the pulse of our talking slows down a bit.

I would be interested in your views about fast talk today. Just go to my website, and click on “Contact” to send me an email. I will read it slowly….


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