Parts of Speech

To compose any original statement and say it well is not a simple matter.  Besides competence in the written grammar and vocabulary of a language, you need to deliver the speech parts of your expressive message: the voice’s sound, the words articulated and composed in a fluid and grammatical way, and so the intent, the meaning.

You need the right sounds of voice, at the right volume for that place, delivered with the right timing.  Almost all successful people, Actors-Zookeepers, are good at communicating with convincing speech.  Practice can make anyone a better communicator.

Starting a conversation

Starting a conversation will be more successful if you find a location that is not in a doorway with movement of people, and where noises and music are not very loud.

To begin a conversation with a person you do not know, you can start by saying “Hello, my name is,” then say your name and make eye contact.  If you wait a moment, in most cases a person will reply with the same.  Then it is your turn, so you should be ready with a simple comment about the location or event.   At such a moment, an introduction, someone may offer a handshake.  Use the fingers-down, business handshake with a new person, giving the hand a short but firm squeeze.  (Fingers-up handshakes can be used between friends or teammates. High-fives are for some kind of victory.)

In the U.S., distance from face-to-face should be around 18” if you are standing together.  If you are talking more softly and so leaning in together, it can be much closer.   You should lean in toward the other speakers to indicate you are in a conversation -and you are listening.

If you want someone to talk to you, you cannot be wearing earbuds and connected to a music player.  Earbuds are a signal that says ‘I am into my music here’.   If someone should signal that they want or need to talk to you, or if you want someone to talk to you, remove the earbuds.

So how much pronunciation emphasis (diction) is too much, or not enough?  I say you can never hear too much of the right sounds, but it is so easy to get too much of the wrong ones!  On the phone, missing phonemes is a frequent casualty of low fidelity in the audio waveform or headset.  If that happens, you should ask about the word you could not understand.

Since it is hard to make statements, it is equally hard to be a listener, to focus on hearing the speech against background noise, decoding input into expressive messages, then understanding the emotional implications.  By listening and replying with a statement that shows you understand, even if you don’t agree, a conversation can be extended beyond the opening moments.

To end a conversation you could lean back or in another direction, perhaps standing up or moving your body.  That cues the other speakers that you ending the conversation – Say something like it was good talking to you today! And move away.


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