I’ve noticed a lot of my Gen Z and possibly late Millennial candidates have a difficult time kicking the “like” habit. Sometimes they exhaust the word “literally.” I understand that it’s a generational trend, and sincerely hope they retire the overuse of these words in time. That said, they’re looking to break into the professional world now.
When I was a young professional, one of my first bosses told me if I didn’t lose my “horrific Long Island accent,” I would “never get ahead.” She sent me for elocution lessons. I was mortified, embarrassed, and hurt. I thought, how dare she? Nevertheless, she dared. Looking past the initial shock and shame of being humiliated, I realized I had a choice to make if I truly did want to advance my career. So, I tried extremely hard to lose my Long Island accent. Today, you might not pick up that I’m a Long Island native, but the accent comes out when I’m tired or drunk ;)
In certain fields, diction doesn’t matter. But at a high-level capacity, diction is something to wholeheartedly consider. Dropping “like” and “literally” and speaking clearly and confidently can make all of the difference in your delivery as a professional. Especially during an interview. Some of my candidates have the ability to do the job but hiring managers will nix them quickly if their presentation skills are subpar.
Think about diction the same way you regard your outfit. It’s all about presentation. Ditching “like” and “literally” for deliberate and confident speech is the difference between pajamas with Uggs and Prada.