You’re a Professional But Do You Sound Like One?

Oh boy. This subject is near and dear to my heart, er…ear! We’ve all heard it: the person that drops their “r”s or leaves off the “ing” from the ends of words. It makes them sound less professional, yes?!

Here’s a great article by Elizabeth Schwartz of Better Speech Now:


As A’s Netters, we’re all experts at something valuable, hence our ability to build our businesses and excel at what we do.  But our speech may not always reflect our level of expertise.  Here are some tips to up the ante when it comes to communicating with our customers, colleagues and those all-important POTENTIAL clients:

  • Don’t drop those “r”s if they belong there!  Do you find yourself saying “staw” for “store”, “New Yawk” for “New York” or “bettuh” for “better”?  Do a little self-test.  At the ends of those words, is your tongue just “hanging out” in mid air or is it reaching back toward your throat?  If it’s reaching back you will get a better “r”.
  • By contrast, don’t add “r”s where they don’t belong!  One word I hear all the time is “idear”.    Do we all have great “idears” or great “ideas”?  (Produce Pete on Saturday morning’s Today Show does this all the time).  How about “arear” for “area” or even “Ikear” for “Ikea”.  YIKES!
  • Here’s the worst offender:  Dropping the “g” from “ing” words.  Are you runnin’ a business?  I hope not…you should be “running” it.  Do another self-test.  Say that word and if the tip of your tongue is touching your teeth…that’s a big no no.  Make sure you’re pulling your tongue backward to produce that nice “ing”.

Record yourself and listen to yourself saying “better”, “idea” and “running” in a short phrase or sentence.  Practice the above tips and re-record yourself.  Then congratulate yourself on your improved pronunciation!

By the way, I’m not so perfect myself in the diction department.  My daughter hates the way I say “Florida” and “horrible”.  What do you think, should it be “Flahrida” or “Flawrida”, “hahrrible” or “hawrible”?  Just sayin’ …whoops “saying”.


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