Submitted by nwillis on
Can somebody just explain to me why some people, especially managers at meetings, overuse the word obviously. After making the opening statement, they will then start each sentence on the subject using the word obviously, even when its not necessary.
I'd put money on the fact that most managers are High I's, and with that they tend to have very dramatic communication styles.
Even I don't understand why
Even I don't understand why people use obviously so often. I mean what’s so obvious about each and everything. My boss have this habit too and this sometimes so annoying.
I see a few possible reasons - really
I see a few possibilities:
1) They don't think about diction.
2) They don't realize they are saying it. I have know many people who don't realize how often they swear. In many cases when I point it out ("Hey, tomorrow afetrnoon during your presentation, it is probably not appropriate to swear.") - they agree, know they do it, and still don't realize they do it as much as they do it.
3) Nervousness can lead to odd mind games. When a speaker is unprepared their minds can play games and they rush through transition statements. When a manager (or anyone else in a speaking position) gets nervous and has not thought through their words ahead of time all kinds of strange things happen. This is especially true at transitions. Often times this is not big deal - other times it is.
4) It is possible they are trying to keep things short by skipping over their decision making process (purposefully or not). If they were truly concise they would realize they can simply do without the extra word. Contrast, "Obvisouly we need to keep travel costs down this year." versus the same statement without the "obviously." It is a stronger statement without the word "obviously."
The word "really" is also overly used in these kind of impromptu situations.
They have no other way to be
They have no other way to be offensive. I am facing this same problem as whenever I try to talk my boss he uses this word and this irritates me a lot.
Modifiers as Filler Words
I would suggest they are using it as a filler word during their discussions. Whether subconscious or not, using a modifier may seem to bolster the point and keep out a pause.
if it were obvious
If it actually were 'obvious', you wouldn't need to say 'obviously'. It would already be understood and accepted.
It's a mannerism, very much like the use of the superfluous 'like' and other such words. Be ware of appearing as a pedant or 'Grammar Nazi' if you are correctling people. The feedback model is probably a better way than pointing it out mid flow.
Don't know why. Yes they use
Don't know why. Yes they use it too much with in meeting or talk with their employer, but don't know why this.
I use to do that
For a year I did some teaching of a few IT and Business Analysis subjects, primarily to mature age students looking to change careers. About 3 months into this, in the middle of one of my sessions, someone mentioned that "it may be obvious to me but it's not to them". I thanked her for pointing this out and haven't done it since.
I didn't even realise I was doing it!!
Maybe an opportunity for feedback.....
Clearly it is apparent
It is to sound like _the speaker_ is in the know, because they think everyone else already knew. They are seeking approval.
I speak in absolutes, so I can relate with the speakers of assumption. For me, I subconciously want to highlight by exaggeration. For the speakers of assumption, I'd imagine it is a subconcious drive to highlight that they just found out what other people know.
So, I'd suggest to cut them some slack. The best approach by someone in your shoes has been along the lines of:
"You mentioned that this was an assumed or obvious thing. I can understand that maybe some might come to that conclusion and there are others where it isn't so apparent, and I might be one of those, because of ..., here's what I think...."
Oh and yes, I'm being facetious in the title and by the absolute statements...obviously.