Is it Bull Shit when Public Speakers Swear?

Robin Dickenson over at Radsmarts, posed a killer question; Is it OK for public speakers to swear?

This question has been ruminating in my head for awhile. Not just the question of profanity, but the idea of a reduced sense of formality; swearing in blogs, wearing jeans in the work place, access to authority, etc.

Are we becoming a less formal country and is that OK?

My thoughts are yes and YES!!!

The formality of this country has been steeped in its Puritan ethic, going all the way back to the first day the Pilgrims stepped onto Plymouth rock. It has dictated our behavior for 400 years. In my opinion, it has stunted innovation, communication, collaboration and engagement. It has created social hierarchies and limited the spread of information and ideas. Formality, is a social contract that says; “I will act a certain way until a particular level of engagement or interaction has been established” OR worse, the formality is the result of a hierarchical structure. It says; I will act a certain way because of WHO you are.


The erosion of formal social contracts is accelerating interaction. It is getting to the core of issues. It’s not shackling ideas. It’s calling out the elephant on the table. It’s cutting to the chase. It’s getting real.

Professional speakers dropping F-bombs that enhance authentic, real, presentations where the swearing brings value is exactly what we need. Gratuitous swearing does none of this and therefore I’m not a fan.

I’d like to see greater erosion of social formality. It allow people to focus on the message. Informality puts people at ease. We let down our guard. It allows us to quickly assess our environment. Asking; is this a person I want to spend time with? Is this a message that resonates with me? Not, who is the person really. Are we still being formal? What do they REALLY think? Can I say what I want now? Can I be me?

Enough with the formality. Let’s get right to it. Let’s open the flood gates. If you are a swearer, then let em fly in your presentations. As Nick comments in the post: Be who you are, swears and all.

I think that people should be themselves on stage no matter what. If they swear a lot while talking normally, then they should swear on stage. AUTHENTIC speakers grab my attention, not their cuss words.Nick Campbell

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