I believe that I could work on speaking culturally. People in my area say things like “you’s” for “you all” and add “s” to the end of many store names, like “Wal-Mart’s”. Recently, my family received a card at church and it had been changed to say something like “you’s” and before I realized what I was doing, I laughed out loud at it. The person who wrote it genuinely thought that it should be “fixed”, as did most everyone in the congregation.

It is hard for me to knowingly use language wrongly, but when speaking to people in my area, I could improve by not just understanding their quirks, but joining in to foster identification. I don’t feel that I fit in with my community very well because I am educated, professional and white-collar while they are blue-collar working poor. Is there a way to find a happy medium between speaking correctly and culturally in this situation?

“Covergence is a strategy of communication accommodation theory by  which you adapt your communication behavior in such a way to become more similar to a person” (Griffin, 2009, p. 388).

That does sound like what I am suggesting that I do. There have been times when I will repeat a person’s question in my answer and use the correct words. They tend to just stare at me. Now that I read these ideas of speaking culturally and convergence, I must sound very stuck-up to them! I am not likely to change anything they say, either.

I still struggle with the idea of speaking wrongly to identify with them, though.

Humility is key to being approachable, isn’t it? I do believe that I do my best at listening humbly.

“Humble listening is the beginning of all real leadership.” and then Schultze refers to Jms 1:19 (p. 101)

I’ve been told that I am very teachable and so I work to continue to be so. It’s so easy to get defensive when someone is really just trying to help you. I liked what Dr. Woods wrote about mirroring:

In the counseling and psychology literature, these concepts are taught as a way to help you connect with your counselee/client. So, when I was doing my skill training for my degree in counseling, we were taught to lean forward when the counselee leaned forward, for instance. Conversely, if we wanted to calm the counselee down (who may have been in an anxious or nervous state), we would slow down our speech, sit back in the chair, and seem more relaxed. (2011).

These concepts could also be useful when someone who is upset with something I’ve done (or not done) comes to me in a huff.

—–

Woods, R. (2011, March 31). “Taking on” others’ nonverbal communication, mirroring [msg 1]. Posted to http://sauonline.arbor.edu

Advertisements