People are very complex and extremely interesting to study.

The way they talk, the words they use, and the way they carry themselves speaks volumes.

When I meet someone new, I want to know all about them, what they enjoy, pet peeves and sporting activities to see if we have something in common.

I listen to the way they talk. Is their voice is loud or soft? What kind of words are they using? Are they confident?

One of my favorite writers, Earl Nightingale, wrote:

"Our words and the sound of our voice are so familiar to us that we take them for granted. But they're too important to be taken for granted. Our voice and our words are our advertising."

He was right.

We advertise ourselves with every word we say and the manner in which we say them.

The airport is a good place to study people. It is fascinating to see how they respond to late arrivals, noisy children and waiting, a lot of waiting.

It is fun to watch their expressions when an airline employee approaches the microphone to say, "We have overbooked the flight and we need three people to give up their seats, in exchange for a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the continental United States."

There are quite a range of expressions. People's eyes tell you a great deal. They say the eyes are the window to the world. Next time you ask someone a question watch their eyes.

Body language is as expressive as words or eyes.

If you eavesdrop on a conversation, watch a person's body language. The words may be saying one thing, but body language may tell you something entirely different.

There was a gentleman talking to a ticket agent in the airport, he was angry about something - you could tell by his body language.

He never raised his voice, and his command of the English language conveyed his message quite well. I believe he handled his problem with poise and dignity, and must have resolved it to his satisfaction for he thanked the agent and smiled as he left.

The late Edward R. Murrow said:

"A voice is so much a part of a person that it gives clues to his mood, his poise, his background, his whole personality. It can make countless impressions for you every hour of every working day. If it's the right kind of voice, it will most assuredly encourage others to work with you."

When you go to work on Monday, listen to the voices you hear and what they tell you about the person speaking. You may learn more about your colleagues and make it easier to work with them.

Listen to your own voice and your choice of words, what does it say about you?


Betty Kuhn lives in Boardman. She is available via e-mail at

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