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World Class Speech Services | Article

Your Speaking Style: Wow! or Whoa!?

9/18/2014
First impressions are an inescapable reality of life. It is widely accepted that people make snap judgments about who they think you are within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. That human ability is both an innate factor and a learned response. Cultural influences may play a part in how strongly they maintain that view but it is hard to overcome a negative first impression in any culture.
We all know that this initial opinion comes from various aspects of our personal presentation including our appearance, our body language and our speech. Before going to a job interview or networking event many people go shopping for a new outfit or pick out a special ensemble that will impress. When being introduced we remember to smile, look at the person being introduced to us and shake hands confidently. But what preparation do you have for your first few words?

A couple of tips to get you going are in order:
1. WHAT YOU SAY: What’s your opening line?
Not exactly a pick-up line but close. John C. Maxwell says that you should remember the “30 second rule” and open with a compliment or a positive observation of the event that you are attending. Mary Kay Ash said that everyone has an invisible sign on them that says “make me feel important”, so asking a question about your listener is often a good opener. These options can pay dividends if you do your due diligence and find out about the key people at the interview, the company or the event. In so doing, you are prepared with a direct question or comment that indicates that you are a person worth checking out further.
2. HOW YOU SAY IT: How is your voice and diction?
Tone of voice and style of speech are very personal and habitual. Making sure that you speak as clearly as possible can be achieved through vocal health and exercise. That’s right! Your voice is both a muscle and an instrument. You habituate certain vocal patterns but, barring any serious health concerns, you can improve the quality with practice. One way is using the “Complete Word Production” technique. This is achieved by emphasizing the beginnings and endings of words with precise enunciation. This helps in both pronunciation and in rate of speech. You should build this skill with practice before the scheduled event.

Both of these suggestions require that you do your homework prior to the interview or meeting. However, this is no different than the preparation and skill you have developed for your appearance and body language. Some of it may come naturally, while another part may need to be more practiced and thoughtful. If you put the key components of yourself together, your fist impression will not hold you back but can propel you to the next level of success.