Elocution – The secret of effective speaking
In movie The King’s Speech (2010), while watching a clip of Hitler speaking in German language:
Lilibet: What’s he saying?
King George VI: I don’t know but… he seems to be saying it rather well….
And, you ofter hear people saying:
“Choose your words carefully; you may have to eat them!”….
“Be careful what you say; it may come back to bite you!”….
Yes, it is important what you say. But equally important, perhaps more important is how you say it. After all, it is not what comes out of your mouth, but how you deliver it. Your style, your tone, your body language….all that adds up to the actual message.
Elocution is the basis of effective communication skills. Elocution is the art of clear and concise manner of speaking, with clarity of meaning and thought. Elocution originates from the word ‘eloquence’ – fluent, elegant or persuasive speaking. It is the knowledge of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language and with the power of persuasion.
Effective speech has deep roots in elocution – the pronunciation, the accent, the grammar, the tone and the gestures play a key role in forming a meaningful and desired message. Elocution is been considered a key aspect of learning the art of communications. The art of elocution has been dissected, studied and taught in the schools for a long time. According to McGuffey’s New Sixth Eclectic Reader of 1857, the key principles of elocution are:
III. Accent and Emphasis
IV. The Voice
VI. Instructions for Reading Verse
I. Articulation: How you phrase your message and enunciate it, how you put your thoughts into proper words is the most important aspect of effective speech. By definition, articulation is the act of vocal expression and enunciation; it is the act or manner of producing a speech sound.
II. Inflections: Inflection is bending or sliding your voice either upward or downward. This is where you need to know your grammar. Inflection is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood and grammatical voice. Proper inflection is very useful to express mood, contrast, irony and sarcasm etc.
III. Accent and Emphasis: How you pronounce, formulate and stress different part of your speech make a big difference. By nature and by habit, our accent and the way we speak are always affected by our social surroundings. It is important to understand the right accent and how to use it for a proper emphasis on the right syllables. Your accent is a large part of your expressions and how the listeners perceive you, as a result. Continue reading