How to Speak Midwestern

 

Probably the most frustrating phenomena for people relocating from New York or the Pacific Coast to the Midwest is how to fit in. How can it be that all the rules for standing out and being engaging in a Metropolis City turn Midwesterners off? If you are searching for fame and wowing the public beyond a hired speaking engagement, you will be disappointed.   If you do not know the rules of engagement for eye contact and body language, your years in a Midwestern city  Some, after years in a Midwest town they chose for a safer environment and a lower cost living style, feel the Midwest people surrounding them are oddly intimidated and standoffish. Knowing the right conversational eye contact and body language helps greatly in bringing trust and friendship.

People are like whales, and the way we communicate is our specific sonar call.  When relocating to the Midwest, know its ways.

HOW COME MIDWESTERNERS ARE NOT FRIENDLY TO YOU?

You just purchased an amazing house in a safe town in the Midwest. So how come after one year you feel like you are being shunned?   The amazing good deal you got purchasing a new or historical house, the cheaper lifestyle, a safer environment seems as if it was a tradeoff for having close friends.

THERE ARE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR SPEAKING MIDWESTERN.  FORGET WHAT YOU WERE TAUGHT ABOUT DIRECT EYE CONTACT

1}   EXTENDED EYE CONTACT IS SEEN AS A THREAT IN THE MIDWEST

Though direct eye contact in the business arena will always be standard,  in casual settings in the Midwest its different.  Practice short amounts of direct eye contact, then scanning the view in front of you while still smiling and speaking calmly. After 5 seconds, look back at the person you’re speaking with  There will be a rhythm to this exchange of eye contact and looking away.  Watch people at work, at the store, church or post office. Diplomacy is the ability to observe body language and eye contact and incorporate it into your own behavior.

 

2} DO NOT STAND FACE TO FACE, BUT SHOULDER TO SHOULDER

When watching two Midwesterners in casual conversation, you will notice almost always they stand shoulder to shoulder, five to six inches from each other.  Often a triangle is created, as they stand diagonally from each other speaking with their hands in their pockets, or behind them or holding a cup of coffee or a beer. The common denominator of all this is to speak nonverbaly,  “I am comfortable with you.”

 

HOW TO TALK MIDWESTERN

Garrison Keeler once pointed out, when meeting a neighbor in a Midwestern Walmart, never speak of your successes when asked how you are doing.  You will watch the other person push their cart quickly away.  In a Metropolis City, it is encouraged to speak well and often of your accomplishments.   But tooting your horn in the Midwest is considered distasteful arrogance.  In a casual setting, speak about the things everyone shares alike, the kids, your dog. the garden,

 

Leave a reply