10 Steps to Effective Speech and Conversationby Priya Menon
Have you ever wondered why anyone should show an interest in conversing with you or how you can hold the interest of a group of people while they listen to you?
Language coach Vikas Kumar in his training on communication skills to the Applied team, emphasized on 10 important aspects of a person’s speech which can help you hold and indulge in a conversation, be it personal or professional, whether you are on a telecon with your peers, presenting you work, or just chilling during a coffee break.
10 Aspects of Speech you should Focus on!
- Tone – The tone of your voice is very important when you are in conversation. A clear, warm and friendly tone of voice is encouraged. This makes you sound very approachable, confident and reassuring. Such a tone can even help you win friends.
- Pitch – The idiom on the right pitch when you are talking would be to ‘keep it normal’. Of course, varying pitches to express emotions more effectively does work, however, it is in good etiquette to refrain from using extremes of pitches (low or high) while talking to a person or a group of people in a room. Adopt a medium pitch which is not too low that people have to strain their ears to hear, nor too high to sound brash. Raise and lower your voice to add excitement and avoid monotony but ensure that this is within limits.
- Volume – The volume of our voice is something in our control. Always remember, nobody likes to be yelled at. Hence, adopt a softer volume while speaking to people in close proximity and a slightly raised volume while addressing a group of people. Ensure that the quality and confidence of your voice is not affected by its volume.
- Clarity – Very often, clarity of speech is an impediment in having a good conversation. Every word uttered should be clear and pronounced completely. People tend to swallow the last part of a sentence or a word in a hurry, but the speed of your speech is of utmost importance to ensure its clarity. We should open our mouth and articulate the words properly.
- Pauses and Stress – Right pauses and stress on words help in easier understanding of the context in which the words are spoken. Speak with adequate pauses and not too quickly. This will portray confidence and authority in what is being conveyed as well as help you catch your breath.
- Pace – Do not rush your words out of your mouth. Pace them out, so that they are in synchrony with your thoughts. Talking too slowly may also lead to unwanted gaps in speech which can spoil the overall effect of your conversation. Let the words make an impact on the listener and for this an adequate medium pace of rendering is necessary.
- Pronunciation – Though this is by far not the most important, since its dependence on accent cannot be ignored, it is necessary to pronounce the commonly used words in the standard manner as prescribed by the phonetics of the language used.
- Intonation – This is the variation in the pitch of the voice. Intonation can effectively be used to convey feelings and expressions (e.g., surprise, anger etc).
- Modulation – Modulation is essentially the change in a person’s voice and delivery to avoid monotony. It also helps to dramatize or bring about more emphasis on what is being said.
- Language – Language is a tool for communication and it is vital to keep it simple and free of any jargon. It is mostly advised to use only one language at one time. This would make it easier to understand. Interlacing your sentences with phrases from another language may alter the flow of thought and coherence.
As mentioned above, words and language are tools of communication, making how a person sounds and expresses important in gauging his accessibility and temperament. Speaking in front of the mirror, and (or) recording yourself while speaking or giving a talk and listening to it at a later time can help you identify areas where you need to improve. A little experimentation and practice on the aspects outlined can help in rendering effective speech.