Each Person Communicates With A Unique Style
Match Your Style To Theirs And A Greater Percent Of Your Information Will Get Through

Using an appropriate vocabulary is part of the process. I have found that I do this with no conscious effort on my part. If talking to a group of rough-talking laborers, I automatically adjust my vocabulary to the one they are using. Minutes later, if I'm talking to elderly refined ladies my vocabulary automatically shifts gears. Using little-old-lady talk to the laborers, or roughneck talk with the ladies would create real communications problems.

The speed of talking is also important. I think one of the reasons the North and the South have had difficulty communicating over the years is the machine gun rapidity of the Northerner's speaking and the painfully slow speech pattern of those from the South. If the other person speaks with short, precise sentences, switch to that style. If they are slow talkers, talk slowly.

I had an interesting experience while in Australia. I was speaking to a group, and knowing their different pronunciation of some words I switched to theirs. I would say "SHED-ULE" instead if "SKED-ULE" to ease their listening burden and to my surprise I heard them using "SKED-ULE" out of respect for me!

There is an "anecdote" about a door-to-door salesman who outsold everyone in the territory because he had an uncanny way of making everyone like him. Why? Because he was able to become "their kind of people" within a flash. And it's a talent that can be learned. It just takes practice. And it is magic. Beware of overdoing it which can sound condescending.

©  2002 John D. Toellner, All Rights Reserved