That may sound contradictory coming from someone who makes his living on the spoken word, either in news broadcasting or voice-acting.
The point is, it’s all in the economy of words…the carefully chosen quality of words.
You know the old saying….”Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Sure but then there’s: “The only words you can take back are the ones you have never said.”
Words are powerful. They DO effect people — to buy, to work, to think, to inspire, to describe, to motivate… the list is endless…. but just like the boy who cried wolf, people stop listening when there’s too many words, too empty, spoken too vociferously with too little forethought.
In voice-acting it’s the old story about 45-secs worth of copy in a 30-sec bag. Advertising is constantly aching to find the new combination of words that hasn’t yet been said. It’s not easy. More words won’t make up for good words.
I go back to Paul Harvey… the Prince of the Pregnant Pause. He worked the pause, because when the pause was over — YOU WERE LISTENING. That puts the onus on you as the speaker to make the payoff to the pause worthwhile, though, or that gimmick doesn’t work either.
In today’s media-driven world, dead or open space, or “black” on TV, or dead-air on the radio is tantamount to someone being fired…yet the commercial with only video and no sound often gets the most attention…’cause we suddenly realize the noise has stopped…and we look to see what’s wrong.
And, oh, the noise is big!…for the sound AND the visual spectrum. Advertising and talk shows, blogs, e-mail, and the general volume of media overall is just reaching a fever pitch. I keep thinking it can’t get any louder…then it does!
Is anyone listening? I for one, am filtering it out… all but the carefully written, the well-spoken, and the poignantly designed.
I guess it’s all part of the “me” generation. We all want to be heard, and no one wants to really listen. It’s lead to “word pollution”…
Writing ad copy? Voicing scripts? Narrating e-learning tutorials? Demand economy, meaning, and quality. THAT will get noticed.
Most everything else is just so much chaff in the wind.