Don’t Speak Like A Goober
Have you ever been a casual observer of how people speak? Some people use a lot of slang. Some may choose to use curse words. Some use improper verb tenses. A lot of our everyday population plain slaughter the English language.
Others speak just fine, but use way too many words. They wear out their listeners. They haven’t learned the art of focused brevity.
The interesting part of it all, though, is that people don’t realize how much they can come across as ignorant, unlearned, and uncultured.
Some Thoughts On Speaking Well
Here are some thoughts regarding speaking well with others in everyday conversations, especially with professional connections.
- Don’t curse. You would think this would be common knowledge and obvious. As a professional, make your mark, rise above the rabble, and make a noticeable difference in how you speak.
- Don’t take God’s name in vain. Related to the first point, as a Christian, I get a little irritated with people who pepper their conversations with “God” and “Jesus Christ” when they’re not even having a spiritual conversation. Hey, you may not be a Christian, but don’t accidentally offend others because of your words. It may cost you a potential job or a great business relationship.
- Don’t repeat the same point over and over again. There are a few people I have regular, lengthy conversations with who simply repeat their key point over and over again. They probably say it different ways, but at the end of the day, they’re just saying the exact same thing. A 30 minute conversation takes place that could have been a very simple, 5 minute one. Respect people’s time. Get to the point and move on.
- Be careful of the “um’s” and other repetitious filler sounds. All of us do this to a certain extent. Monitor your usage and eliminate the filler as much as possible.
- Be careful of cliché’s. We all like to use them, but after a while we start sounding like our parents or worse – hicks!
- Be careful of your speaking flow. Some people talk really fast. Others speak slowly. Some speak hesitantly with starts and stops. Try to have a nice, smooth flow to your speaking voice so that you’re not bringing too much attention to yourself and speaking mannerisms.
- Be aware of your general grammar usage. This is a little more difficult to monitor when speaking extemporaneously, but be careful and try not to break grammar rules on a regular, ongoing basis.
- Don’t slip into different accents. Do you have one? Do you slip into an accent at different times for various reasons (i.e. Southern, Canadian, etc.)? Try not to do the accent thing if you can avoid it.
- Maintain a pleasant EQ balance. What I mean is this – you don’t want to speak too high or too low. Ideally, you need to speak pleasantly in the midrange without too much treble or bass in your vocal cord vibration. I realize this is easier said than done with many people.
How Do You Speak?
Have you ever stopped and considered how you sound to other people when you talk to them? Have you ever recorded yourself speaking just to see what you sound like?
Take some time over the next week to take mental observations on how you talk to others. For the areas of speaking that you don’t like, see if you can make some minor or maybe even major improvements if needed. Then, observe how these changes impact your everyday conversations, especially in the area of professional connections. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.