Step 1/Week 2: First Impressions: How we sound. We live in an incredibly social world where we are called up upon to share our thoughts and speak our mind on an endless variety of topics. When given our platform, it is always in our best interest to sound our most intelligent. This is not the time for text-speak, filler words, swearing or slang, however tempting. This is the age of sound bites where we have to make every second count and speak articulately, audibly and with perfect elocution to make sure our message is clear.
For the next seven days, pay close attention to your verbal communication. Notice your voice. Do you speak loudly or softly? Is your speech high-pitched or low? Do you converse too quickly or slowly? Are you a chatterbox, or is your delivery slow and methodical? Are you a close talker? Notice your choice of words. Do you use all those three and four syllable words you learned in school and do you know their meanings? Do you swear like a sailor? Do you sound like a teenager sprinkling filler words throughout your sentences? Do you talk in text preferring to say, ‘brb’ instead of ‘be right back’? Do you have an accent, and if so, from where? Boston, New Jersey, Louisiana, the UK? Does it make you sound smarter? Do people make fun of it? Does it help or hurt your personal or professional life? What is the tone of your voice? Do you sound annoyed? Do you sound happy? Are you curt or do you speak at length? Do your words move people into action or do you feel like no one is listening? Each of these questions is up for discussion in this second week of our focus.
Let’s use this period to discover the impact we make or do not make on others. Are we effective in getting what we want at home? With our families and friends? In the dating world and in the corporate world? How do we come across to other people? Do we sound cheery? Do we sound critical? While our technological communications have taken precedence, it is our interpersonal connections that still hold the most weight. In these rare instances, we must know how to speak face-to-face and tailor our tone of voice, our velocity, and our volume depending upon whom we’re speaking to or the size of our audience.
More careful examination should be paid towards what we are saying. Are we repeatedly throwing up words out of our mouths? Do we apply filters to prevent saying something we will most surely regret later? How many of us actually think before we speak? This is certainly not easy in a world where the complete opposite is heralded by society, especially in the media where shock-value is upheld. Take, for example, the latest cultural phenomenon, the Potty Mouth Princesses, who would probably have gone unnoticed if not for the F-bombs sprinkled throughout their video on feminism. How else to perk up the public’s ears? On the other end of the spectrum, are the increasingly popular TED Talks which in a distilled eighteen minutes of mindful word selection are able to educate us, enlighten us and instruct us to make our lives better. How will you choose to use your voice over the next seven days? Share with us what you observe in yourself and in others. Join us now! Make the vow to #daretobepolite!