Language is a powerful way to communicate. It enables us to share our feelings and thoughts by expressing our real views.
Yet, I believe language isn’t a ‘reality.’ It is simply a limited system of signals, symbols, gestures, or sounds that belong to a specific group or culture. It only represents a not so perfect map of the a territory. We may have a piece of great news to share. Yet, there are other significant factors to know if we want to make our public-speaking session efficient.
In addition to the words in our messages, language communicates feelings. Our voices are infused with attitude and emotion. Add the subtle nuances of loudness and pitch, rate, intonation, posture, and facial expression. Now we have an intricate behavior pattern with the power to inspire our crowd.
Without those extra subtleties available in writing, the choice of words and sentences must do all the work when you speak. It would help if you chose them correctly. Whether our messages are written or spoken, the job is still incomplete.
Our language must go through the filters of culture, emotions, personal beliefs, and situational context. These filters will affect the listener’s interpretation and perception of our message resulting in either rejection or acceptance of our ideas.
- Culture An individual’s country of origin, personal history, and childhood will influence their view of the world. Their language may not include concepts and words that ours does. These people will understand our words in a different way than someone with our own background. They may not recognize many of our views. When forming our messages, we must respect customs, cultures, and histories that are distinctive from our own.
- Emotions: Our listeners may be anxious, joyful, expectant, upset, excited, or in any other distinct emotional state. Their emotional state will alter their reaction to our words. An upset person will not be ready to want new ideas. On the other hand, someone looking ahead to hearing what we are going to say will receive our ideas in a positive light if we are able to present them well.
- Situational Context: What the audience has lately experienced and surrounding factors will also affect how they receive our messages. Unlike emotions, situational circumstances involve elements that are external to the audience. This includes our own exhibition of the message. What we said previously and how we said it would influence the listener’s understanding of what we say next. A room that is too dark, noisy, uncomfortable, or cold will distract the listener’s consciousness.
- Personal Beliefs: We filter everything we learn through our personal beliefs. We recite everything we experience to previous encounters. If we understand a concept or an idea, we relate it to our past learning. We rarely have an entire new experience. We have core beliefs about our lives; these personal maps of the world guide how we perceive, listen, and interpret what we are hearing. Our messages will be affected significantly by our listener’s personal opinions. We need to choose our words carefully and alter our presentations to touch our listeners on a more profound emotional level. At this deeper emotional level, the most efficient communication is achieved.
Well-chosen language can affect the soul and heart, find common ground, foster powerful new alliances, and tear down walls of division. It can be a potent success tool.