No matter what your career is, you talk to people every day. Whether you talk to family, friends, colleagues, customers, or vendors, how you communicate with them determines how successful you are in getting your message across to them. If you are looking for a job, you talk to others while networking or interviewing.
In order for your message to be understood by the listener, you need to be able to speak so they can understand you or want to continue speaking with you. Your choice of words is only half of the message; the other half is the delivery. How you deliver your message is important and should be examined. Below is only a partial list of what you should be aware of when speaking to others.
1. Rambling—using many words but not conveying a solid idea that one can understand. Or talking around the issue and not actually answering. Think of politicians during debates. They have said many words but didn’t answer the question.
2. Mumbling—if you don’t enunciate your words people won’t be able to understand you. This reminds of the scene in My Fair Lady, where Henry Higgins filled Eliza Dolittle’s mouth full of marbles in order for her to learn how to enunciate. I don’t think you have go that far.
3. Accents—some regional accents have a bad rap. However, most people hear their accent, but others do especially if they are from someplace different. If you are from an area that has an accent with a bad rap, you should tone it down.
4. Fillers—these are like words you like put in sentences that um really aren’t part of what you are trying to say you know. You to like stop saying these things you know. Because um they don’t sound smart you know. I think you get the idea.
5. Speed—speak at a pace that makes the words you are saying are understandable. Think of the message at the end of commercials where the announcer rattles off what would be the fine print so fast that you understand the words. Or the 78 speed records played at a speed of 33 the long, deep, drawn out sounds that
6. Volume—if you talk to softly, people won’t be able to hear you. But then if you talk too loudly, people get annoyed. Adjust your volume for the venue. If you networking and there are many other people talking, you will have speak louder than if you are in an office being interviewed.
7. Monotone—speaking in a single tone, volume, and/or speed makes whatever you say tedious and boring. Imagine if Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech in a monotone voice. Instead of being known as Martin Luther King, Jr., he would be Martin Luther who?
You may not be aware of how you are speaking, so it would help you to ask a trusted person to listen to you speak. Listen to their constructive criticism. If you prepare what you want to say, but your delivery is lacking, your message may not be received as you intended. Sometimes it isn’t what you say, but how you say it. Don’t let how you talk ruin all the work you have done to get this far.