Choose your voice and create your identity, choose your words carefully. Why do we choose the words we do? What’s in a word?Quite a lot actually, we choose the words we use in the same way we choose the clothes we wear. Words are powerful, emotive and evocative. The choices we select is not an accidental, and it’s deliberate. Words say everything about us.
We are all, to an extent, linguistic chameleons, changing the way we speak depending on who we talk to one on one or in groups. Not always in significant ways, but always in some form and style that fits our ways. Family groups share pet names, nicknames, references, and stories. The language that a family uses, everyday experiences are reflected in the manner that they speak day to day with each other. Speaking to a shop assistant, a colleague or a lover all involve different words, different inflections, pitches, and volumes. In everyday communication, we use both spoken and written words. Remember that spoken words are tinged with inflection and meaning, while the written words are as well, but are not as graphic.
In writing, we lose the ability to react, the reason being that at the heart of it is the why it can be difficult to engage in online conversations at a deeply personal level. We adapt and modify our words according to what we hear and see. Add ‘jargon’ into the mix; the specialist language that groups of like-minded people create to exclude outsiders (or, more charitably, the economic words that summarize concepts in a concise manner). Jargon is an immediately particular type of language that we can use (or, conversely, the easiest way of showing that you are ‘in’).
Whatever language we use, we need to remember that words are dynamic and emotive and that they are avenues for finding our voice. Our identities whether we like it or not or a reflection of the words we use. Every time we commit pen to paper (or fingers to keypad, or even fingers to touchscreen), we are choosing which voice we want to speak with, and it’s important to choose the right one.
Stop and think for a moment, if you would, about the way you think. Maybe before leaving home this morning, you thought to yourself, Don’t forget to turn off the oven! Or, perhaps, after leaving, you said to yourself, “Darn it I forgot my keys.” It feels natural enough, but in his new book, The Voices Within, Durham University psychologist Charles Fernyhough asks us to consider something most of us take for granted: Why do we think in words at all? Have you ever thought of this in that way?
Your greatest tool as a speaker is your voice. Every time you address an audience your mind, your body, and your voice act as partners in your effort to communicate with your listeners. When you speak, your voice is the primary link between you and your listeners. It is the medium of your message. Most likely the voice you are now using is not your best voice. You may have buried your excellent speaking voice under layers of bad speech habits.
A compelling voice isn’t necessary just for public speaking. A good, controlled voice is an asset in every contact with others. Your voice mirrors your personality with a language all its own. A natural sound which projects cordiality, cultivation, and authority is a significant tool for personal success. It can help in gaining promotions, making sales, winning the respect of others, and improving your social opportunities, as well as in speaking effectively to audiences. When you talk, your voice reflects your psychological and emotional state of mind.
Until the next time take good care, be and stay well.
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