Plane Thoughts: “Like” no.

I spend more time on planes than most. Thanks to family across the country and a job that forces me to leave the safety of my sweatpants occasionally to act like a real adult, I’ve easily spent over 20 hours on a plane this month with a few more flights this week. While I board every plane with a list of work, my focus isn’t always there.

With no reliable internet and no attention span, that means I spend my time listening to (overhearing, really) a lot of weird shit. Annoying shit.

I can’t just keep all of this annoying shit in my head, so I open a word doc and I write. Usually, I just dump these but I figured, why not post it.

So here it is, my latest plane rant:

In high school, I used to count words. In presentations, in speeches, even in conversation. Not just any words, words that annoyed me or caught my attention simply because they were used so many times. You know the words – like, um, so. They’re words people use to fill in space, to give their brain time to catch up with the thought. I count because, frankly, it drives me nuts and it’s the best way I know to distract my own brain from mounting frustration at the sheer volume of these key phrases.

I read a book where the author was coaching politicians for debates – teaching them to avoid these phrases because it gave people the impression the politician was stalling, untrustworthy and ill-prepared.

So why is it that the movie Clueless’ vernacular has crept its way into so many people’s vocabularies today? How is it that it went from cool to a sign of stupidity? Think about it. How often do you hear the word “like” randomly interjected into the sentences of the people around you? In no situation is it actually contextually relevant unless someone is using a simile to describe a situation. However, if someone is using like frequently enough to start my head count – it’s highly unlikely they even know what a simile is off the top of their head…

clueless vocabulary

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Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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