Profanity. Curse Words. Motivational Speakers.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. While commonplace, profanity, the use of expletive curse words is rude and offensive. No doubt many folks love it, and laugh when they hear curse words. But in truth, unless you are giving a talk to a bunch of drunken frat boys, it’s just not appropriate. And especially for someone who gives speeches, whether you are a business speaker, 0r in the class of people who give speeches called motivational speakers, cursing is offensive. On the other hand, if you continue to get paid to offend, why would you not do so. If I was a meeting planner, I would never hire someone who cursed. And if they were hired and then cursed, not only would I never bring them back again, but I would tell every other meeting planner I knew not to hire them as well.
I just finished reading an article in the June issue of the National Speakers Association (NSA) Speaker Magazine. The article was, “What the “BLEEP” Did He Just Say?” Because this is a topic close to my heart–profanity, and using curse words, I decided to write a post on it.
Profanity. Curse Words.
Profanity, the use of curse words openly in public settings, has become as common place as breathing, smoking cigarettes on TV, sex on TV, and violence on TV. No longer do polite folks say, “Excuse me,” when they curse. Instead, they just keep on keeping on. The other day i was in Whole Foods and a youngster cursing at his mother caught my attention. He was likely no older than 10, and yet by his slick and vile tongue, you thought he was an adult. His mom and dad just looked and him and turned their head. Then the mom said to the dad, “these kids are so F___ unbearable.” Then it hit me, no wonder the kids curse, their role mode;s have taught them how, and when they do curse, no one says “Don’t do that.” And how could they chastise their kids for using such fowl language if they are the role models.
Obvious in this world of anything goes, I have become a part of the minority. How interesting considering that until I was about 30, you could have washed my mouth out with soap, and still not gotten it clean. My mouth was vile and out right disgusting. I cursed so much you would have assumed I knew no other words. Perhaps I didn’t. Then, because of the courage of a mentor named Louise Robertson, I changed. She called my attention to my gross mouth, and encouraged me to change the way I speak. In fact, she was the first person who taught me that self-esteem comes from doing Esteemable Acts. She said, “It’s not how you feel, it’s how you behave.” She would repeat over and over again, “How we behave says more about us than what we say. Talk is cheap,” It took me a while, but I learned that lesson.
I cannot tell you the last time I used a curse word in public, and I would most definitely never use a curse word from the platform—any platform. You do not hear curse words in my speeches. Some may call me Pollyanna; I call me respectful of myself and those listening to me.
Justify Bad Behavior.
One argument folks who justify cursing make is that’s just who they are. They are being real. Others justify profanity, especially from the platform when giving speeches, by saying, you have to speak to folks in a way they can hear. What silliness. To get people to relate to you you must talk down to them. What an assumption about human beings that is.
My belief is that when you curse, you take the focus off of your message and place it on you. That is a good ploy if you have a messy and unimportant message. But if you have something useful to share, then it seems you want people to hear the message, not get distracted by curse words. My other belief is when folks curse people laugh. So, if you are so insecure that you are willing to do anything to get attention, then cursing is the way to go.
Join the Conversation.
One day at a time I choose not to curse, and that is an Esteemable Act. What do you thunk? Join the conversation on my Esteemable Acts Fan Page, Esteemable Acts Twitter Page, in a Google+ Circle, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.