Often we place much emphasis on the way that we look. Whether attending a friend’s wedding or going out to dinner we are quite aware of our appearance and are sure to dress according to the accepted norms. I know of no one that would show up for a job interview in khakis and sandals or attend an important meeting in their pajamas! These things simply never happen, so why do we treat language so differently? The truth is that regardless of how well you are dressed, the minute you begin speaking is when others will really begin to judge you.
Does that seem unfair to you? Some people say that we should not judge others but the truth is we all do it. I’m not talking about the “looking down” on someone because they aren’t wearing designer clothing type of judgment. I’m talking about the instinctive human need to avoid harm and assess our surroundings type of judgment. I don’t know about you but I don’t usually start a conversation with a stranger that is wearing a killer clown costume while screaming at his invisible “friend”. It’s not a bad thing to determine what type of people are around us and whether we should interact with them on some level or avoid them completely. Yes, we all judge people constantly whether we realize it or not.
Naturally, we will all wonder why the man walking through the mall is wearing a duck costume but aside from the bizarre, we do make certain decisions about others simply by the way that they speak. I would find it quite strange if my doctor recommended that I “get more sleep caus’ it ain’t healthy to be tired all the time” wouldn’t you? Would you be comfortable listing your home with an agent that had the worst grammar you ever heard or hiring a new employee that spoke today’s modern “street slang”?
The point that I’m trying to make is that how we present ourselves to others will determine their opinion of us for a lifetime. It’s amazing how impressive some people can be simply by their appearance but the minute they begin to speak everything changes. Yes, we are responsible for presenting ourselves in a civilized and intelligent manner when dealing with other people and if we don’t we cannot use the excuse that it’s not right for others to judge us. The problem is not what they think of us, it is what we lead them to believe. If you want to make a good impression on others than speaking properly is just as important as dressing appropriately for any given situation.