When The Mister picked me up from work yesterday, a professor that I know made a quip about wishing he had a personal driver, too. I laughed and responded that it is “totally awesome” having a driver. When I finished getting in the car, The Mister asked me if I had just really said “totally awesome.” I told him that I had and that I a wee bit mortified about it. You see, Valspeak (as in “Valley Girls”) is my native dialect. Unfortunately, when I slip up and use it, I’m not taken very seriously because of the all of the stereotypes associated with it.
For our awareness exercise this week, we are going to focus on our speech. As you go about your week notice three aspects of your speech:
- Your physical production of sound–Do you speak loudly enough? Too loud? Do you enunciate or mumble? Are you breathy?
- Your intonation– For example, do you “upspeak or uptalk” or engage in “vocal fry?”
- Your language–What are the words you use to convey your message? Are they strong or weak? Would they need to be bleeped out if you were on broadcast television?
How we speak has a profound impact on whether people listen to us or not. It is why Hollywood studios spent so time teaching their actors diction and the Mid-Atlantic accent so that they would sound like they had gone to upper crust boarding schools. For me, I had to lose the upspeak in order to pursue a career in a male dominated field.
This week notice if when you talk…do people listen?
Image citation: Polident advertisement courtesy of Eliz.Avery on Flickr.com.