The July-August issue of Speaker Magazine, the official magazine of the National Speakers Association, carries a wonderful article about humorist, Jeanne Robertson, “More Than a Laughing Matter.”

            Jeanne is as successful as a speaker can be and funny is a weak description of her presentations. What strikes me about the article is this disclaimer, “Boring, rude, one-liners, profanity: these descriptions are simply not in Jeanne Robertson’s lexicon. She doesn’t use inappropriate language.” Writer Stephanie Conner states that Robertson knows that her audience wants tasteful humor and that’s what she delivers.

            Too many speakers use foul language to evoke laughter rather than developing cutting edge material. It’s a cheap short term solution. Jeanne has been entertaining audiences for forty-seven years and is more popular today than ever. When an organization books Jeanne, it knows that it will never have to issue an apology because someone was defamed or humiliated. She is a known quantity – trustworthy.

            This has been a banner year for inappropriate speech from politicians, church leaders, celebrities, community leaders and talk show hosts. As the debate about the possible mosque near Ground Zero continues to escalate and the mid-tern elections encourage hate speech, it is past time for everyone to take a step back and a time-out to think about the impact of what he or she is about to say. Perhaps we should send them all to one of Jeanne’s presentations to learn how to communicate without sinking to the lowest common denominator.