The Art of Speaking: Communication and Negotiation vol. 1

We all saw it in The Wolf of Wall Street when Leonardo DiCaprio talks about selling that pen or whenever he or one of his associates is on the phone — proper communication is king!

During our schooling and taking additional private English classes, we are all trying to reach that famous threshold — the first certificate in English a.k.a. the FCE certificate. Upon attaining it, many will say Alright, alright, alright in Matthew McConaughey’s voice from the famous scene in the movie Dazed and Confused, thinking they have reached the English-speaking heaven. Well, apologies for being party-breakers, but B2 (FCE) is merely the beginning of your English-mastering journey as you are only starting to discover the vast area where you can improve your vocabulary, your eloquence, precision, conciseness, tactics and strategies, as well as the enhanced feel for the English language.

  1. Voice Source
    Voice coaches are the people to call upon here (they can help us improve all the points); but we can make improvements on our own, as we can practice changing where our voice comes from — nose, throat, or chest, with the last one adding weight and depth to it i.e. power and trustworthiness.
  2. Voice Color
    This quality has to do with how our voice feels — rich, smooth, and warm are the voice qualities that people enjoy listening to.
  3. Prosody
    The sing-song, the quality that makes our voice go up and down so that is not monotonous and boring. At the same time, there are different patterns to our voice — the rising intonation when we make questions or the rising and falling one when we have one long sentence that contains two sub-sentences (clauses) within it. Again, if we overuse or misuse any pattern, it can become difficult for our listeners to maintain their attention.
  4. Speed
    Fast speaking is one of the worst enemies of a good speaker — but if we manage to slow down, we can use that pause to put an emphasis on a certain word or part of a sentence. Also, remember that there is nothing wrong with a little bit of silence. It can be very powerful and it is a far better tool to use than to insert the umms, errs, and filler words (basically, you know, like, etc.).
  5. Volume
    The last to have to do with how loud or silent we speak. The loud/high-pitched speaking is connected with emotional outbursts or excitement, while the opposites can be used in situations when we want to emphasize something and draw attention by speaking in a low voice or whispering.

In the end, it is worth mentioning that, in order to be able to use the aforementioned points in our speech, we need to properly warm up our voice as public speakers and singers do. Additionally, we need to maintain and take care of our vocal cords, so make sure you drink hot beverages and use some throat candies and lozenges.

Till next week,

Take care!

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