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What is your EtiQ?

What is your EtiQ?


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A Life Well Lived - Having Style 

Cultivated Voice, Cultivates Good Impression

 By Cynthia Grosso

�The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug�.

                                                                                               Mark Twain

Studies show that in the formulation of a first impression, 38% is attributed to your voice.   This includes the enunciation, pronunciation and use of words, as well as the tone and quality of your voice. This statistic is of great significance, as the same studies revealed that what you actually have to say accounts for only 7%.  This exemplifies the saying that �It is not what you say�but how you say it� These same studies reveal your appearance accounts for 55% of that first impression. You may look the part, but in business however, a non-cultivated voice may ruin your initial image.

Your civilized verbal usage reflects your inner being, which is shaped by your education and life experiences.  As a result, how you express yourself will determine how people judge you.  Your education level, your intelligence and your social standing in the community are all qualities that we �speak� about daily.

One common verbal flaw we hear often is simply bad grammar.  This includes wrong verb tenses or slang expressions such as �I am fixing to go� or you guys or y�all or yeah instead of yes� Although slang may be somewhat accepted, the misuse of verb tenses such as �we should have went� is not correct.  The correct use is �we should have gone�.

The tone of your voice is also very influential.  People often do not realize how they sound� in person, as well as on the telephone.  Studies show the lower the pitch; the easier a voice is to listen to. Lower pitch does not mean soft. Soft relates to low volume. A soft voice is not professional, just as too loud a voice is poor manners.

I like to teach someone to put a smile in a voice.  This is accomplished by putting a smile on his or her face.  Your word inflection and voice tone rise up as the corners of your mouth do. A suggestion to put a small mirror on your telephone may be a good way to remind yourself to do so.

The speed in which you speak is also important.  In the south, if you speak too fast, people tend not to trust you. Sometimes people who talk fast limit the use of their jaws which typically causes them to mumble.  This results in leaving off the endings of words especially ones with �ing�.  The �g� sound gets dropped off and becomes �in� such as: �I was walking� becomes �I was walkin�.  If you annunciate words correctly it is hard to speak too fast. It is also rude to speak too slowly.  It is hard to converse with someone who speaks in this manner and often times they may find that people finish their sentences for them.      

Here are some additional etiquette tips for having a cultivated voice:

        Use complete sentences.

        Pronounce words clearly and correctly.

        Do not chew gum.

        Do not use foul language.

        Do not use repetitious phrases such as �Know what I mean�?

        Use correct verb tenses.

Another positive element of your vocal expression is to use �Magic� words often in your conversation:  Please, thank you, I�m sorry, good morning, excuse me and you�re welcome.  These words show respect for the person with which you are speaking. 

The use of good vocal skills is significant to the positive impression you leave with people. As it has been said, �a message sent is only as good as the receiver�s perception of it�.


Source: Article published in the Post and Courier

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