Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Communications Nightmare - Vocal Fry

One of the oddities in my life as a recently-appointed school director is having to interview candidates for teaching positions. It's odd, because in all the years of teaching college, or running my own businesses, I never hired a single employee. Now I go through the process of interviewing and hiring all the time.

Most candidates who apply for teaching positions are women, and a lot of them are straight out of college, looking for their first teaching position. While interviewing these young women, nearly every one of them displays poor communication skills, characterized by vocal fry.

Here's an educational video about vocal fry:

Vocal fry signals a warning to potential employers that a candidate's communication skills are not in line with the needs of (in this case) the school and its students.
Can this annoying trend be stopped? Considering the Valley Girl speech patterns of the 1980s, it is possible that vocal fry is merely a fad and will stop after a year or two. However, as the mainstream media, especially movies, promote actresses who increasingly cannot communicate because they mumble or because of vocal fry, it seems more likely that the fad may turn into mainstream speech.
And, like many fads that have become mainstream, such as tattoos and piercings, these tend to reduce the likelihood of landing the job you wanted in favor of others who can communicate well or who can be good examples for students.