SPEAKING WITH ELOQUENCE
“Great is our admiration of the orator who speaks with fluency and discretion”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Eloquence carries a speech, a talk or presentation. It connects the speaker with the audience, keeps them engaged throughout and successfully ends with a clear message, take-away or call to action.
The root word for ‘eloquence’ is ‘eloquentia’ in Latin. It means the ability to speak fluently and in a graceful style which captivates the listener. This article will focus on some barriers to eloquent -or fluent-speaking and how they can be overcome.
- Speech distractors (mannerisms or non-words) like “umms”, “errr”, “aahhh” which are so frequently used when people speak. Many cannot begin a sentence or answer without the “Ummm”. Listen to the daily news and you will get an earful!
How does one cure this bad and irritating habit? Simply “Zip the Lip”. In other words, just pause a moment, find the word, then say it.
- Poor enunciation – the lack of clarity in the sounding of words. They sound more like a mumble.
To overcome this, be conscious of opening the mouth to speak up and out. Practice ‘throwing’ your voice.
- Mispronunciation of words. The benchmark for speaking in English is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). It is carried in all dictionaries and shows what the symbols are and how they should be sounded.
The best source I have found to improve our pronunciation skills is at www.dictionary.cambridge.org.
- Speaking in monotone. This is speaking in a continuous tone that can often
lull the listener to sleep.
Learning to ‘modulate’ the voice will overcome this. Speak high at times, speak low at times-vary the pitch to maintain audience attention.
- Rapid speaking. Listen to on-board announcements in some of our local airlines and you will see what I mean. It frustrates the listener trying to keep up with the speaker.
Apply pause e.g. 3 seconds between each sentence or statement, and pace, speaking slow to cover important points and picking up speed for the less important ones.
Speaking eloquence is necessary to get a message across effectively.
It elevates us from being an average, mediocre speaker to one who is
articulate and commands audience attention and engagement. It’s an
on-going process and will require much effort on your part.
As Zig Ziglar says:
“It’s all in the glands – the sweat glands”