stop speaking like a transported convict

38% of a presenter’s impact is how they say it

This paper has already addressed research that shows that in personal communication the impact is – 7% content, 55% body language and 38% inflection/voice/tone. In other words, and to the subject at hand – how you say something has more than 5 time the impact on listeners than what you say.

How an individual speaks can have a dramatic impact on how they are perceived by others and their capacity to engage with others on a one to one basis. Critical issues in this regard include:

  • Articulation
  • Vocabulary
  • Accuracy

We all react to accents and the way in which an individual pronounces words. An accurate and clear pronunciation leads to the view that the individual is educated and well informed. Strong accents and poor pronunciation can significantly damage perceived credibility.

Having a wide-ranging vocabulary also enhances the perception of education and knowledge. It suggests that a person is well read and can carry on a sophisticated conversation. That said, the use of jargon is off putting, as is pitching language over the head of the audience.

Using big words incorrectly or in the wrong context suggests that a person is trying the be more than they are. It suggests that they are trying to appear well read, educated and informed when they are not. This is more common than many might think.

Also important in terms of language is subject matter. Eleanor Roosevelt once noted – ‘Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.’ Never has a truer work – or sentence been spoken. Equally the subjects that people discuss and their capacity to discuss

unemotionally and articulately about a range of subjects impacts on their capacity to engage with prospects and customers. Again, this reflects level of reading, education and intellect.

RECOMMENDATION – Say it right or don’t say it at all. Like it or not, you will be judged by how articulate you are, your language and the accuracy with which you use it – along with the subjects you can discuss


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