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Perceptions are formed by your words

Being a good communicator with the written and spoken word is the biggest influencing factor forming others’ perceptions of you. Whether you are seeking a new position, applying for a job, holding a very senior position in a company, managing others or in a clerical position, choosing your words is important. Do so wisely. Think before you speak and contemplate the words you put in writing,  print or online.

Speaking is more contemporaneous with less time for consideration of the most appropriate words to be used. Our individual choices should always be above board regardless of the environment you find yourself in. Choosing the right words for presentations, reports, letters, contracts, notices, advertisements, etc., whether spoken or in writing, is your opportunity to present yourself as a professional to be taken seriously.

Decisions, opinions, perceptions are very influenced by the wording you choose. People can be offended when you make poor choices. At the same time your influence can be convincing and positive when communication options are well thought out and selected wisely.

Words can inform, encourage or tear down. Honesty is always the best policy. Sometimes words can be difficult to hear even though they are intended for counsel to promote improvement in performance, most often from boss to employee.

Being grammatically correct in resumes, letters, reports, etc, and clear enunciation in speaking encompasses professional communication. Impressions are formed and perceptions made based on the quality of the spoken and written words. 

Receivers of our messages form impressions and draw conclusions based on those perceptions. Judgments are made, sometimes snap judgments, and can lead to biased or stereotyped perceptions of others. Consider how this can impact your day-to-day interactions with other people.

It is worth the effort and time to pay close attention to your communication skills. A person is judged by others due to what you say and what you write. It can be a very subjective process impacted by a number of variables. Seeking to understand the characteristics of the person being observed, the context of the situation, your own personal traits and your past experiences are all factors that have an influence on impressions formed. Often people will form an impression of others very quickly and with minimal information. We frequently base our impressions/perceptions on the roles and social norms we expect from people.

You can sell yourself and your organization, services and products more successfully when paying attention to a continual and ongoing effort to stay up to date and improve your communication skills. Developing as a wordsmith is a worthy goal and will position you for success in your job.

Advice to speakers and writers is found in the Bible. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” — Proverbs 25:11.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.