When we are asked to stand up and speak, we tend to run out of words; sometimes ideas too; even though we have already prepared. The stage fright is often a common occurrence.
When we sit to write, we feel like timid mice in presence of a ferocious Grammar Cat. When we know the subject there is no reason whatsoever that we should not be in a position to sit down and write @ 20 words per minute, faster if you type.
We don’t have to do all the grammar exercises that scared us during our school days. But we definitely have to brush up tenses, auxiliaries & modals, prepositions, articles etc. Not a tall order; just a few hours of serious work.
How it will help? You will be able to express yourself clearly, effectively and more importantly in a style that is appreciated because it is easy to understand. And then, there are FOUR simple rules to follow:
- Choose nouns over adjectives. Nouns give you the crisp information. Adjectives make the reader wonder. In our written communication, our objective should be ‘the ease of business’; If it’s a businessman, he doesn’t want any unnecessary hurdles, and so the reader would not like to face any hurdles in understanding your message.
- Choose verbs over adverbs. Verbs are giving information about the actual action, while adverbs describe the quality of action. For example instead saying “he went to the hospital quickly” it will be more effective to say, “He rushed to the hospital”.
- You can make your message more effective by using specific words instead of general words. Instead of saying, “ I will call you next week about this problem,” say “I will call you on Thursday (or any other day) afternoon about request by Ramesh for transfer.”
- Choose short sentences instead of the long ones. But vary the length of the sentences. Otherwise it will appear boring.
You can easily follow the above simple precepts to make your communication natural, precise and interesting only when you have belled the Grammar Cat.
Thanks for reading.
Public speaking has become extremely important today. While the content is the king, speaker has to be choosy about the language. We find that language used by some of the speakers is so compelling that listeners are highly influenced. I am detailing below 6 language techniques which make the speech highly effective:
1. Using clear spoken language: Spoken language is not the same as written language. Its sentences have to be short. The long sentences may work well in the written essay but in speech short sentences are better. Further, concrete words should be used rather than the abstract ones. Verbosity needs to be avoided, totally. Above all, greater use of restatement is recommended. But the same should not be repetition the words which you have already used.
2. Concrete language: The language when the listener can create images in his mind. e. g. we say “the legs of speaker were shaking and repetitively he was wiping perspiration on his face.” The above statement is far more effective than saying that the speaker was extremely nervous and did not know how to proceed with a speech.
3. Specific words: It’s better to use specific words rather than generic. e. g. when we say a president of a company it is specific but if we just say manager though president is also a manager, but it is not specific. Manager is more specific than saying an administrator. Indeed, the manager is also an administrator.
4. Figures of speech: Use of any figure of speech makes the speech very interesting. There are number of elements which when used with discretion dramatically improves the quality of the speech. Figures of speech are:
i) Metaphor: metaphor is application of a name or description to something to which it is not literary related. For example, one may say, “life a camera. Just focus on what is important and capture the good times. Develop from the negative and if things don’t work take another shot.” Another example would be- so often we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to enjoy the journey. Such metaphors used appropriately are highly appreciated.
ii) Hyperbole: when we exaggerate anything for emphasis that would be known as hyperbole. The following are the examples of hyperbole in views.
- An obvious and purposeful statement of exaggeration used for emphasis, dramatic effect, and to make a clear poem.
- How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
- “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
iii) Personification: The attribution of human character to animals/inanimate objects or abstract notions is known as personification. Examples:
- Time leaps forward
- The starts winked at me
- The Sun smiled on the city as a new day began.
- The piercing look almost broke the glass
5. Art of restatement: The restatement is an extremely effective way of putting across your point. However, it is important that you should not use the same words or the same sentence again and again. Use language which expresses the same idea but in different words. Imagination and application of mind will do the trick.
6. Creating emphasis: The speaker may use contras. Rhetorical questions can be asked to create a dramatic effect on the listeners. Contras are when you talk of totally opposite things together. Likewise rhetorical questions are such, which leave the audience aghast.
One of the most popular speeches of 20th century is ‘I have a dream’ by Martin Luther King. In this speech, he uses all types of figures of speech. In fact only their adept use has made the speech so popular, and so effective.