If you asked me this question over coffee one day, I would tell you that it is simply impossible to answer that question in one sitting. It would probably require me to write a book to answer that question.

However, as I sit beside my window watching the rain, I decide to try to condense the answer into this article.

First of all, I would like to start by quoting something I read in a book by dale carnegie called " How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking". He says, "We are evaluated and classified by four things: by what we do, by how we look, by what we say, and by how we say it."

Similarly, our 'level of elegance' is evaluated by these four things.

What we do

The things we do can fall on so many things. They can be your chosen career, job, how you decorate your house, the way you go about your daily life, your hobbies, the types of books you read, the causes you campaign for and believe in etc.

All those above things are important which affect other people's perception of your elegance. However, I'm going to zone in on two. Your manner of behaviour and your daily activities.

First of all, I believe that graciousness comes first in an elegant person. Manners and kindness are the defining characteristics. An elegant person is just not rude. Period.

Secondly, I hate to tell you this but there are certain realities like social class and hierarchies that we can't avoid. The truth is there are some jobs and careers out there that are more elegant than others. Usually the more elegant ones are those who serve a noble purpose. This follows the first characteristic of an elegant person who is defined by kindness and the beliefs that others matter more. There is some work that exists for a greater cause that personal fulfillment and luxury. But who can correctly set the great divide between elegant jobs or non-elegant jobs?

Also, job and career aren't exactly the most elegant words or terms usually used to describe 'what we do'. Just a thought.

How we look

This is possibly the easiest path to greater elegance. Elegant folks make a point to always be perfectly groomed. Not a hair is out of place. Their clothes are appropriate. They are clean and tidy. They have fewer items but they are of quality.

Most of grooming tools that you need to look elegant are found in the supermarket and they cost less than ten dollars.

Outer appearance sounds superficial, but what most of us don't realize is how our outer appearance say more about us than we wish. They reflect our character and habits. Sloppy appearances show that you can't-be-bothered.

One other important thing, your appearance is like wearing a club membership. It identifies you to similar club members. Those who are elegant also use that to identify their friends subconsciously. Like the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together.

What we say

There is such a thing as an elegant speech and an elegant conversation.

If you want to learn how to be more elegant, you have to identify the mistakes in your speech. This refers to grammar, thoughtful sentence structure, the use of proper english (or whichever language you converse in). Avoid the use of slang or vulgarity. It is just awful to an elegant person's ears. Not like you'll ever know, they'll probably overlook it to make you feel comfortable.

An elegant conversation is civil and appropriate. It does not intrude on personal matters. It never uses direct questions which may sound like an interrogation. Interrupt never, rush absolutely not. It is not long winded nor peppered with advice or hints. It is neither forceful or opinionated.

To develop elegant speech and to become an elegant conversationalists, good books must be read and there must be some self reflection. An etiquette book helps for general reading because it helps you identify common scenarios which will not catch you off guard later on.

Another point is to take note is we have to consider the literal terms "what we say" literally. What do you talk about? Are they the result of self reflection, education, study, observation, unselfishness? Or are they materialistic, superficial, out-the-mouth-without-entering-the-brain-first?

Yet this is another measure of how we can improve our elegance.

How we say it

Apart from elegant speech and conversation, this is another thing that all of us subconsciously judge elegance by. Our accent, its clarity, its prose and poise.

Is our voice nasal? Can we be heard clearly? Are we understood?

Is our accent distracting?

Is the pronunciation of our words perfect?

At age 18, Grace Kelly begged for a voice recorder to train herself to get rid of her country accent. She later married a prince.

If you want to learn how to be more elegant, you can consider adopting a more neutral, international accent, learning phonics or getting a elocution coach.


Post a Comment