Do your kids sound educated?
The practice of good speech habits can improve your personal presentation. It is amazing how people will respond to you differently, take you more seriously and perceive you as smarter just because of the way you speak.
Here are a few common speech faux pas that can diminish the perception of how educated and capable your kids are.
Do they mispronounce words? When you mispronounce words there are people who notice. Here are a few common ones: “Axe” instead of “ask”, “spay” instead of “spayed”. The phrase is not “spayed your cat”; it’s “spay your cat”. Once it’s done, your cat has been spayed.
To keep intruders off your fence you install barbed wire, not “bob wire”.
A kid who gets in trouble in class may be mischie-vous not “mis-chee-vi-us”.
Do they use words that don’t exist? There are many non-existent words that are used in formal forums, such as: “irregardless”; the word is regardless, no “ir” is needed. Regardless of the fact some modern dictionaries have added this word, it is still not considered formal speech.
“Pro-nun-ciation” is the correct word, “pro-noun-ciation” is not a word.
When speaking to someone, you are having a conversation, you converse, not “conversate”. You are conversing, not “conversating”. When it is time to be polished and proper, you want to know the difference.
Do they delete syllables? We all do it. The word “probably” morphs into “prob’ly”. “Government” becomes “gov’ment”.
The place that houses books is a li-brary not a “lib’ry”.
The second month of the year is Febru-ary, not “Feb’ry”.
The best day of the week is Saturday, not “Sat’dy”.
Do they forget the endings on their words? You can get away with it in casual conversation, but when you are giving a speech, interviewing or on the radio, it stands out as sloppy speech. “Correc”, with a hard “c” at the end is incorrect. It sounds so much more polished if you say “correct”, “affect” and “protect”.
Do they use incorrect tenses? “Say” is only for present tense. “Said” is for the past. “He say he did it,” is actually impossible.
Do they pronounce “er”? People actually sound more educated when they say the “er” at the end of their words: “better” instead of “betta”; “register” instead of “regista’”; and I like “leather” shoes better than “leatha”.
So why am I bringing this up? You see, the problem is when you begin to string all these faux pas together, you fall short in representing yourself. Even if someone does not know the rules above, they may still get a sense that you may not be so smart or educated.
Parents, you spend so much money educating your children, but many times they still do not come across that way. Even if you did not spend money on private school, your child can still sound as if he or she is highly educated by incorporating the information above. If you would like your teen to get a good dose of self-awareness and tools to improve communication skills, I am hosting summer sessions July 3–5. Contact me if you would like them to be a part.
• Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: [email protected] or call 242-225-9013.