Words: Voice and Speaking
Guess what, one of the places those nervous habits often pop up is in our voice, in our words, "um", "like", "ah". Tone, speed, inflection, laughter, accent, and pronunciation, our voice is part of our image. If I always talked with the same tone and inflection you would think that I was a robot and it would be almost impossible to listen to me for more than a sentence or two. Vary speed, tone, inflection, laughter, accent, and pronunciation. Accent can be charming or regional accent can be disarming, a part of your character or personality. You just don't want it to be an impediment to how you're understood. In Vermont, we swallow our t's and our g's. "Mitten", "kitten", "mountain", my last name's Daniel Post Sennin'. It's different then the New Hampshire accent, then the Maine accent, then the Massachusetts accent, then the Boston accent, but when I'm speaking on stage, I like to pronounce my t's and my g's so that I can be understood, so that people know my name is Daniel Post Senni...
ng. They know how to look me up. You're the etiquette expert. You arrive at work in your usual, comfortable, business casual clothes. Later in the morning, someone emails you, tells you there's an important meeting. You're just not dressed at this moment. What do you do? How do you approach this? An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure. You might need to run home and get something. You might need to run out and buy something. If you keep that spare shirt in your desk drawer or if you keep the jacket in the office closet, you're gonna be ready. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure. Dress for the job you want, not the job that you have. Set the tone for success. Take pride in your appearance. It's one of the keys to professional advancement. I'll tell you a little secret. This is one of the first times I've ever presented or given this talk not wearing a suit. 99% of the time I put on suit when I walk out and stand in front of an audience, a live audience. One of my ideas for this talk is that we're gonna be a little more intimate. We're gonna be a little bit more revealing. We're gonna talk about some of those decisions that happen behind the etiquette curtain. I want to share some of those things with all of you. But when I was first preparing to start presenting and teaching about etiquette, I had to go get a suit. I had to show the people that I work with, the people in the small family business that I work with, that I was ready and that I took that job seriously. Always be prepared. My final tip, when I talk about appearance is that we've now dialed into your person and now I want to step back and think about your workspace and what that says about you as well. It can be your office. It could just be the desk, the place you work. It could be the laptop that you open up when you're working in a coffee shop. What does your workspace say about you? It's part of your professional presence as well. Is it neat? Is it organized? Is it creative? Is it creatively cluttered? Is it just a mess? My mother used to have a little sign on her desk that said, "Don't think that because I'm messy I'm disorganized. Everything is misplaced exactly where I can find it." That's the way that she worked. But she was also very aware that it was part of her professional reputation, part of her professional presence, that people who looked at her desk thought, "Whoa!" Have some idea what your workspace says about you as well. Take some care with it. We can talk about image and attire. We could talk about our workspace for a long time, but we don't have infinite time, so I want to finish today by thanking you for your time and attention. I really think that attention is a gift. I thank you for the gift you've given me.