Same Thing, Different Word

July 2, 2014

Regional vocabularies play a huge role in how we communicate with one another. Whether in business or personal matters, word choices and pronunciation can sometimes mean the difference between closing a sale or not, getting that promotion vs. being passed over or simply being accepted to being persona non grata.

I remember when I was working on closing a sale for my former employer, my clients from the Midwest, did not understand or appreciate the country accent in which my colleagues spoke during that meeting. They were visibly disconnected from the meeting and could not focus on the details of our negotiation because they were so turned off by the way in which it was presented to them. After that, our internal team had discussions around not using certain words in business meetings if the audience was from a different region that did not speak the same lingo.

Here’s a map that shows our nation’s regional accent and just how many different ways of speaking English that we find in our own country. Keep this in mind when you’re communicating with others over the phone, via email or in person.

Major American English Dialects

Also, check out the quiz link below from the New York Times and see your personal dialect map by answering 25 short questions. Remember the way you speak says a lot about where you’re from. You want the person you are talking to focusing on what you’re saying and not the way you’re saying it.

Check out the New York Times accent quiz HERE  

May Huffer

Regional Sales Manager at HRchitect