Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


Or, should I say, He-looooo?

Or, perhaps, Hell-o.

We're going to be practicing all of these very shortly.

You see, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Aix-Marseille University, and ENS Paris have been doing a little research into what makes for a favorable first impression.

They focused not on people's tics and twitches, nor on their beady eyes or some curious facial mannerism.

Instead, they simply listened to how they said Hello.

Actually, it isn't entirely accurate that they just listened. 

They also created visual representations of what different intonations look like.

It's one thing to say the way that someone says Hello is aggressive. It's another to show a picture of it.

The researchers examined how people reacted to the different ways of being greeted and what they thought it said about their attitude and personality. 

Thousands of different ways were listened to, all generated by a software program called CLEESE, which is available online.

Now the next part -- the results -- involves concentration, before practice.

If you want to sound determined -- and happen to be French -- you should put an emphasis on the second syllable of Bonjour and speak in a descending pitch.

Which is different from a condescending pitch.

But if you want people to trust you, oh, that's a completely different affair.

You should allow your voice to rise near the end of the word. Yes, like a Valley girl. Well, a little.

I'm not sure how consistently people react to certain vocal intonations. The scientists, though, insist that they saw profound differences.

They did also say that there's no difference between a determined man or determined woman when they greet you.

I worry, though, that if you practice these intonations, they still might come across as false.

If you want to sound determined, isn't it better to actually be determined?

Not that I think introducing yourself in a determined manner is necessarily a good thing.

All too often, businesspeople are desperate to come off all huff and puff and insist on the strong voice and even stronger handshake.

Wouldn't you prefer to do business with someone who actually seems trustworthy and says Hello the way they've always said Hello, a way that sounds natural?

Of course, there's also the nuance that just one word might not say everything about a person.

Some people simply talk in a more interesting, seductive or deliberate manner. 

We get all sorts of impressions just from that. 

And some people have difficult, squeaky voices with intonations from a very bad high school orchestra, yet still turn out to be marvelous. 

Published on: Apr 3, 2018
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