In the art of communication, it’s not just what we say, but how we say it that can determine whether or not we are reaching our audience. In this lesson: the story of a big potty, accents, and communicating.
We moved to Massachusetts when I was in second grade.
This was the first of the moves that would take me to five new regions of the country by the time I was a junior in high school.
When my mom and dad were house hunting in Massachusetts, they looked at several areas… and narrowed in on Worcester. When the realtor was showing Mom and Dad the house we ended up living in for about a year — my mom kept hearing the realtor say she could have a big potty in the house. The realtor was seriously standing in the middle of the living room telling my parents about this BIG POTTY they could have…
After she said it a few times, my mom realized the oh so Massachusetts realtor was actually saying that my mom could have a big PAHTY (party) in this new house.
Boston accents are wicked cool.
I remembered the story while working in Boston this week. My mom tells me I absorbed that Massachusetts accent pretty quickly. I wish we had video of me walking around TAAHking like that as a 7-year old.
I’ve always been quick to pick speaking styles up. For better or worse. It took me FOREVER to get rid of the Minnesohta accent I adopted when I worked at a TV station there over 10 years ago.
The problem with an accent can be when it creates a communications issue. While it’s so individual and a part of who you are… it can stop you from landing a job or getting your soundbite in a TV story if they feel the audience won’t understand your message.
I love accents. I love listening to how people form their words and what they emphasize in a sentence. Regional accents are a lesson in our country’s history.
Speaking of history lessons… have you had a tour of Fenway Park in Boston?
I toured the park yesterday. Head on over to my Facebook page for a tour of the park in the SNOW, the locker rooms and some history of the park.
Side note: when people ask me if moving around so much as a child was terrible, I tell them that without all those moves — I wouldn’t know so many parts of the country, have friends across the U.S. (and world) and wouldn’t have the regional U.S. knowledge I have. An example: While working the day breaking news came into our Memphis newsroom about the death of six firefighters — I’m quite sure my anchors were two of the only TV anchors in the nation who pronounced Worcester the right way. I wouldn’t have known that without all the moves as a kid.