When’s the last time you said: “y’all?”
I’m guessing it will depend on where you live and how you were raised.
According to this site (http://survey.johndal.com/results/20/) about 19% of America says “y’all” or “all y’all” when referring to a group of two or more people in casual speech.
As you can see on the corresponding map, most of these people live in the southeastern United States.
After living in Knoxville for 12 years, I’ve found that “y’all” has continued to creep into my everyday vocabulary.
However, it only seems to happen when I’m speaking with someone from the area. When I’m on the phone with clients or speaking to my family (who aren’t from the south), I almost never say “y’all.”
That’s because a key part of effective communication is adapting your style to match the listener.
Sometimes this comes very naturally. For example, a parent never asks a crying child, “have you suffered an abrasion to the epidermis covering your patella?” Instead, it’s, “Did you scrape your knee?” Or simply, “Do you have a boo-boo?”
Other times, you must deliberately adjust your language to make sure you are understood.
A great example of this is from the movie My Cousin Vinnie.
Note how Vinnie (dressed in a ridiculous suit) changes his language at the end to make sure he is fully understood.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll share different ways to identify the preferred style of your clients and prospective clients and then provide suggestions on how to improve your communication.