By Janet Adetu
Just as I entered the hall I conducted a quick self- image audit from my hair down to my shoes. Once I was satisfied I then continued my walk into the venue. Being a formal gathering I was not surprised by the number of people in attendance. The first speaker was introduced and subsequently ushered on to the stage. From a professional stand point I commended her for her ability to portrait the right presence for her stage presentation.
As expected she kick started her speech with her welcome address the rolled right into her presentation. The speaker was not into her second sentence when we could see her chewing gum in between her words. There and then my impression of this elegantly looking speaker dropped immediately, most especially as she unconsciously started chewing as she went along.
Now did she forget that she was chewing gum before going up onto the stage? How should she have instantly cautioned herself without sabotaging her image? It was obvious she did not conduct a self-image audit before going into the hall.
Chewing gum is not the real issue here because researchers and scientists will tell you that chewing the right gum is actually good for the health of your teeth, your gum and your breath. If for that reason alone then everyone should be chewing gum.
I guess it is all about how you chew the gum that makes all the difference. At some point we all have that tendency to want to chew gu for various individual reasons. We see it all the time how some people chew with all their mouths open. It gets worse when you actually see the gum in their mouths as they speak.
Just imagine yet again sitting in church seeing very well dressed women chewing gum profusely, not a pleasant or complimentary site. It is also poor etiquette to be sitting in front of someone listening to every chewing sound from behind. If not addressed it can easily be overlooked and tarnish ones impression.
Let’s look at it in more detail:
How do you chew gum?
Do you chew with all your mouth? -This suggests that you are not so self –aware of your environment. Your image is everything which you must guard like an egg. Gum should not be chewed for all to see but discretionally.
Are you Loud and lousy? – Making sure that you chew to the hearing of others is rude and impolite. Nobody needs to know that you are chewing especially when it is gum.
Snippets at a time? – It may look like you are not chewing anything but when this is done at the wrong place, time and occasion this can be more detrimental. Be conscious of your surroundings and act with caution.
Do you bubble pop? – This we know is act left to those feeling young at heart without a care in the world. You have no business as an adult popping gum in public, not only will you turn heads but raise eyebrows too, all sending negative messages to you.
Enough chewing what next?
Do you stick under the table? – Have you once in your lifetime stuck gum under the table or the arm of your chair? Just think how unhygienic it would be when someone accidentally places their hand on the sticky gum. It is quite common placed and is considered indecent, impolite and an act of misconduct. The simple thing to do is to dispose of your worn out gum appropriately.
Do you casually drop on the floor? – This is an act of carelessness as there is no thought for your fellow human-beings. Stepping on gum can be a daunting experience, also quite embarrassing. Why litter the environment, good behaviour as well as good attitude would always caution such acts. There are some countries that consider the chewing of gum in public places and on public transport a punishable offence, as such place heavy fines on such breach of conduct. Avoid casually disposing of your gum.
Do you Wrap it up? – The ideal situation is if you must chew gum then always make it a practice to neatly wrap up in anything disposable before discarding in the trash can. This should be a spontaneous act especially in the public environs it goes without saying.
If you must chew do not chew here
Finally some will tell you that they completely dislike the act of chewing gum at any point in time, while others will tend to choose the places as to when and where. Chewing gum is therefore neither wrong nor right depending on the individual circumstance. Just to put into perspective if you feel the urge to chew gum, then take note of the following areas to avoid if only to protect you and your personal brand: Wishing you the best of luck!
1. Places of worship
2. During a presentation by you
3. In your work place
4. On TV
5. On Radio
6. At a meeting
7. At a wedding
8 At a formal event
9. When making an entrance
10. When meeting someone for the first time.
11. During a training / lecture session
12. At a dinner