First of all, let’s see why the language is your business card.
Do you care about the first impression? What are the things you notice when meeting a person?
Normally it takes about 10 seconds to create the first opinion. In other words, when you meet someone for the first time, you need to be on your game from the very beginning. This includes being aware of everything from the words you choose to the body language you convey. Therefore, we can conclude that your language as your business card: from the first second it helps to understand who you are.
It is extremely important not only to think about what you say but how you say it. To communicate effectively, it is not enough to have well-organized ideas expressed in complete and coherent sentences and paragraphs. One must also think about the style, tone, and clarity of his/her writing/speaking, and adapt these elements to the reading/listening audience. Again, analyzing one’s audience and purpose is the key to effectiveness.
Being real is the most important, but still, you should remember about some simple rules. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you don’t know the answer to something they ask, don’t fake it. The ability to lean into your weaknesses shows that you are self-aware.
Mind your listener and adjust the content of your message. There is high importance in word choice. You would want to have a wide range of word choice, because there are words that mean something specific, and you can get your point across better.
The use of appropriate language is a tricky matter because the meaning of words is relative and situational. In other words, words can be interpreted in different ways by different people in different situations. For this reason, it is important to choose the language which is as precise and clear as possible. The more precise and clear one’s use of language becomes, the fewer the number of possible interpretations for a message.
How to impress with your speaking
Firstly, modulate your pitch and tone of voice.
A high-pitched tone of voice can make you seem childish or nervous – especially if you tend to “uptalk” or use a rising inflection at the end of your sentences. In fact, it has been shown that people perceive those who have a rising intonation as less knowledgeable, no matter what they are actually saying.
Not sure if you’re guilty of this? Try practicing your presentations or recording yourself reading aloud. You’d be surprised at how different you sound to others versus in your own head.
On the other hand, faster speakers are considered to be more confident, according to a study performed at Brigham Young University. However, even if you’re talking fast, be sure to avoid using filler words such as “um,” “ah,” “like,” and other similar phrases whenever possible, as it shows hesitation. Try practicing not relying on those filler words in front of a camera to train yourself.
The next tip you should mind is a choice of words. Do it wisely.
Words matter even more than you think. Positive and persuasive words and phrases will often open doors and make people feel comfortable in your presence, which can ultimately make them more willing to work with you.
Sometimes, though, problems with clarity are a matter of word choice. See if you recognize any of these issues:
- Misused words — the word doesn’t actually mean what the speaker/writer thinks it does.
- Words with unwanted connotations or meanings.
- Jargon or technical terms that make recipient work unnecessarily hard. Maybe you need to use some of these words because they are important terms in your field. But don’t throw them in just to “sound smart.”
- Loaded language. Sometimes we as speakers know what we mean by a certain word, but we haven’t ever spelled that out for listeners. We rely too heavily on that word, perhaps repeating it often, without clarifying what we are talking about.
Mind positive language
Positive language teaches how to alter language so that it comes across as positive and constructive, rather than abrasive, hostile or confrontational. Its use tends to reduce conflict, improve communication, reduce defensiveness in others and helps portray the speaker/writer as credible and respectable. Language is an exceedingly powerful tool, therefore language is your business card.
What is more, positive language can be used to uplift your audience by simply being clear and simple.
This point is especially valuable if you’re making a first impression in a job interview. You want potential employers to find you positive, flexible, and capable, so use language that reflects optimism and agency instead of negativity. Because your language is your business card.
How to impress without speaking
Be mindful of your body language and posture.
The body language is your business card too. Effective body language goes beyond simply standing up straight and having a firm handshake – although those things are definitely important, too. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, keep your posture open – don’t tightly cross your arms or legs, don’t ball your hands into fists, and don’t hunch over in your seat. Lean in when you talk to show you’re actively listening and engaged in the conversation. And don’t be afraid to take up some space at the table, either. If you normally use hand gestures or move around to communicate, don’t hold back. These nonverbal cues can make a powerful subconscious impact. So, be aware of your body language and posture during meetings in general, but particularly initial pitches or interviews.
What behaviors should you aim to avoid?
It’s smart to refrain from tapping, touching your face too often, placing objects in front of yourself, blinking excessively, and sitting or standing too close to others (respect the bubble, people). Some of the body language habits can suggest dishonesty, so be mindful to avoid those tics – avoiding eye contact, touching your mouth, and others – too.
Start focusing on making your first impressions count. At the same time becoming the person who is consistent with the brand you are creating for yourself. As you strive to become the person you need to be to achieve your goals, you will begin to make many positive first impressions without even trying. They will become part of your standard operating procedure.
Remember these valuable tips and try to implement them. The correct language is your business card to success and only you create it.