The 25 rules of good speech

Human beings are social animals, who use words to convey their aspirations and desires to those around them, but also their most intimate fears and the needs that have overwhelmed them. Although this is an ordinary act, which begins to develop at the end of the first year of life, it is also an art which requires training and patience.

A person who considers himself to be a good speaker must also be a person who can listen carefully and sensibly. It is therefore a knowledge which transcends the technical, and enters the domain of the emotional and the social.

In this article we will discuss the 25 good talk rules. These are very simple keys, but they require dedication. By using them, we will make speaking a more effective and useful tool.

    The 25 rules of good speech

    We describe below the 25 rules of good speech. To this end, we will integrate the different elements that are part of the communicative fact, because they are all relevant to learn to transmit in an appropriate way and which benefits the parties concerned. We will therefore focus on the sender, the recipient and the message.

    1. Speak confidently

    Assertiveness is a basic rule for any conversation to be healthy.Because it ensures that those involved perceive that their mutual needs must be met and that (in turn) the rights and duties implicit in the bond are respected. Assertive communication requires the ability to convey what is really meant, but taking into account in the process the sensitivity and posture of the other.

    There are specific techniques used in learning assertive communication, such as the sandwich (transmitting the content that we consider delicate between two positive verbalizations, with which the interaction begins and ends) or the broken record (keep our position so much that it remains reasonable, remembering it firmly after each attempt at persuasion or deterrence). Assertiveness is a healthy and constructive balance between the extremes of aggression and passivity.

      2. Summarize, reflect and paraphrase

      Summarizing, reflecting and paraphrasing are three basic tools for adequate oral ability; although they are based on something even more basic: the ability to listen. These ways of interacting make it clear to the person in front of us that we have understood them and are essential for the conversation to go well for both parties.

      Through the summary, we clearly summarize everything the person has told us, reducing ambiguity and contextualizing. With the reflex we repeat I we emphasize the emotional content of what was said (Encouraging us to dig deeper into all of this) and with paraphrasing, we recall the more objective aspects of the topic (the facts). These strategies serve to guide the interaction at different levels, depending on what we want to know or talk about.

      3. Use short, clear sentences

      The use of simple words is crucial, especially when what we want to convey lends itself. Sometimes we want to talk about something that worries us or generates an overflowing emotion, which involves using concepts of greater abstraction that delve into emotional life, so we leave in them the echo of our subjectivity and even moved on. by more complex grammatical structures (metaphors, analogies, etc.).

      However, in everyday life situationsIt is useful to strip the speech of any nuance that could lead to inappropriate interpretation. This is essentially more relevant when we are conveying content that is supposed to have a certain objectivity, which is usually limited to the field of work or even academia. This way of speaking reduces the burden of subjectivity and should be used when the context requires.

      4. Avoid monotonous tone

      Tone of voice is very important in the act of communication. The brain itself has specific structures in order to shape its musicality, giving it nuances that grab the attention of those we talk to. His injury precipitates an alteration known as an aprosody, and in some cases foreign accent syndrome (in which a tone similar to that of strangers’ verbal inflections is adopted).

      The monotonous tone stimulates the fatigue of those who listen to us and accelerates the process of attentional decline. So, while the sustained attention (or alertness) begins to wane after a period of 30 to 45 minutes, when the speaker maintains a steady tone, that falling point happens to be very early. It’s also a boring way of speaking, which reduces the playful component of this act.

      5. Don’t yell or disrespect

      Raise your voice to the point of yelling and / or using foul language, such as disrespecting or insulting, it erodes with enormous ease the will of two people to reach an agreement when their initial positions were divergent. All this is perceived as a vehement signal that the ideas of the other are not validated, which precipitates cognitive mechanisms which break any disposition to listen to what one wishes to communicate.

      6. Emphasize

      Any medium-length conversation is made up of one main problem and a set (more or less broad) of sub-topics which are associated with it tangentially, which allow you to give more support to what you want to communicate without being necessary to understand the message.

      These are secondary ideas that add value, but can be a reason to disperse the central focus in case you don’t have the ability to prioritize what is being said.

      The prosody (or tone) makes it possible to highlight which content of the speech is the key of what needs to be communicated, reducing the possibility that the exchange will lead to a collision of arguments that leads nowhere. Learning to redirect attention is also very important, whenever we perceive that secondary ideas are getting too much attention (sometimes deliberately when our interlocutor is wrong).

      7.Use the gaze correctly

      The gaze is the main non-verbal resource available to human beings to convey what they want. It is for this reason that our eyes have an extensive sclera (The “white part” of the visible eyeball), which provides a massive volume of information by significantly emphasizing the rest of the elements that compose them (iris, pupil, etc.).

      The eyes are the first point of the face to which attention is directed, which is already observed during the first moments of life, and the gaze is the form (and background) that they adopt to show without words the emotions felt. Control of this resource is of utmost importance, but it is not always easy to achieve. Staring can seriously disturb the interlocutor, but also convey trust or intimacy when a deep relationship has been forged with them.

        8. Use the body as a support

        The body is another element of communication, which can support what is said, supporting the verbal content with the gestures of both hands or other parts of it. There is evidence that the use of this resource differs between cultures and that it varies not only the meaning of each particular gesture, but also the degree to which it is involved as a visual aid.

        The truth is that what we transmit with the body involves about 70% of the total message. This is the main reason why people prefer to deal with the most important issues face to face, rather than using the phone or new technology. With the body, we deploy a series of small acts that help to inform, so we must learn to use the infinite tools it can provide us.

        9. Direct the body towards your interlocutor

        When talking to someone, it is important to establish a body position that conveys attention to what they are saying to us, so that the continuity of the conversation is stimulated. Keeping the body oriented towards the other is also essential if we divert it to a point in space where it is not present, we recommend that you want to interrupt contact with it (talking to another person with a crooked body and head pointing towards it, for example).

        When we are seated face to face, it can be interesting to subtly tilt the body forward, as this is an act that is generally perceived to be full of attentional projection (although it will need to be regulated if discomfort is noted). Other gestures, such as crossing your arms or taking advantage of the elements of the space to take shelter from what you hear (too large table for example), are often perceived as disrupting communication.

        10. Take care of your micro-gestures

        Micro-gestures are described as subtle and fleeting affective configurations of the face, Which occur immediately after hearing something that precipitates an emotional response, but which fades into an expressionless “poker face”. However, many people are able to grasp this rapid phenomenon, reading between the lines what the other person actually thinks of what has been said to him (regardless of what he puts into words).

        Taking care of our micro-gestures is a very important issue, but it presents a great difficulty: they are automatic and involuntary. That’s why they say so much about what we think about each other. We even always try to accommodate the words to suggest something else, they reveal what we feel inside of us. The only way to resolve them is to build the capacity to fully accept the other, as he is, by overriding judgment where possible.

        11. Camouflage

        People who have a relationship of trust with one another tend to imitate each other in situations of social exchange. So, for example, they could take a sip from their cup at the same time, or adjust their body posture on the stand when the other does. If there is an obvious disagreement between the positions, the reverse situation occurs: an avoidance of any gestural or positional coincidence.

        This synchronicity can be used in our favor as part of our social interactions: if we want to “connect” to the other, we can subtly imitate what he decides to do with simple and natural gestures. It is an indirect way of stimulating a sense of harmony, which must be sustained and be in tune with the verbal content of what is being conveyed.

        12. Reinforce the positives and avoid the negatives

        The Greenspoon effect is a resource widely used for the purpose of persuading the other person of a topic in which there is a mismatch, or by simply stimulating a favorable mood while we are talking to him. This is to reinforce by a nod (nod “up and down”) or a sub-voice of approval (“ummm”) anything that is considered positive (an expression of optimism, for example. ), ignoring the negative (without gestures or reproaches).

        By doing this, we are providing a covert social incentive, which increases the passing of sentences that are viewed as positive for the person or relationship. We increase the latency of optimistic statements the individual makes about himself, in turn minimizing darker or darker ones. This is a common technique in unstructured psychological interviews, but it can be practiced on a daily basis.

        13. Look for congruence between verbal and non-verbal

        It is very important make sure that our body and our words are not in direct confrontation, Because it would send a confusing message to the other (which tends to give more credibility to what is suggested by the gestures). This dissonance is frustrating (gestures say one thing and words another different), especially when the receiver is someone who is emotionally dependent on us (like children, for example).

        It was even long thought that this mismatch was directly responsible for psychosis, postulating that a dissonant interaction between mother and child in childhood would precipitate a state of confusion that would emerge as the germ of this disorder. There is currently no evidence to support this hypothesis (double bond theory).

        14. Really smile

        Smiles, like the look, arise very early in life. It has an obvious social function, because it arouses positive feelings in the other and is attractive to engage in interaction. However, not all smiles are genuine, let alone.

        Whoever is authentic, resulting therefore from a spontaneous and sincere emotion, receives the name of Duchenne smile. This is the activation of the major and minor zygomatic muscles (very close to the mouth), as well as the orbicularis of the eyelids.

        That is why a smile is not just the curving upward position of the lipsBut it is accompanied by an expression in the eyes that is very difficult to pretend. The use of a fake smile does not have the gestural model of the real one and is quickly identified as such. Since fake smiles are often seen as a sign of lying or betrayal, they should be avoided as much as possible.

        15. Take care of physical contact

        Physical contact is not a trivial matter. A person who can be considered a good speaker must be able to recognize the virtual physical limitations of whoever they are interacting with, regulate distance and provide comfort. And it is that we all have a space around which we only allow access to people in whom we trust; so if someone who isn’t tries to get closer than necessary, we experience discomfort and / or annoyance.

        This region is known as the “intimate space”, It is limited to the skin and is different for everyone, as it depends on the personality and the collection of accumulated experiences. In relationships where a sufficient basis of trust has not yet been formed, it is recommended to limit oneself to the “social space”, which is a little more separated from the body of the interlocutor (and which one can talk about without invading -). It is only when the bond is consolidated, and a tendency towards spontaneous approach awakens, that we will be able to cross this invisible barrier.

        16. Find a suitable location

        Sometimes, a wonderful conversation can be spoiled to take place in an inappropriate place. This can happen if we want to communicate something intimate in a crowded space with people with whom we do not have a relationship of trust, caring about who is the recipient of these words and who is uttering them.

        In people who tend to argue repeatedly, it may be interesting to choose a neutral space by consensus in which to deploy what they want to say with more confidence. In case they usually scream, it helps to go to a cafeteria (or other similar place), as it is a crowded place where the tendency to raise one’s voice is inhibited (out of sheer social desirability).

        17. Adapt to the rhythm or abilities of the interlocutor

        Not all the people we talk to have the same cognitive resources to understand the message we want to convey, or maybe they haven’t even developed maturation skills (young children).

        In these cases it is necessary to have the ability to select the most useful words, so that the purpose of any conversation is satisfied: Convey the ideas in his head to another person, clearly and without the possibility of confusion.

        The habit of reading has put us to the test of the lexical arsenal needed to improve flexibility in the different areas in which a communication situation can take place, and increases the richness with which we can express what we need. .

        18. Listen actively

        Active listening is a general disposition to receive the other’s message in which full acceptance of what he is telling is implied, fitting in as a legitimate part of his life experience (without invalidating or judging). This creates spaces that open up the possibility of resolving issues of more confidentiality. It is one of the foundations of friendship, and it is an unconditional and respectful embrace. to what the other person is and feels.

        19. Respect the turn to speak

        Some people tend to monopolize the pace of the conversation almost completely, so the listener feels like they don’t have time to intervene and ends up losing interest in doing so. For this reason, it is essential to respect the turn of the speech, so that the other has the possibility of clarifying or bringing what they deem appropriate. Only in this way is it possible to develop a balanced and horizontal interaction..

        20. Seek agreement in a conflict

        Often in conversations in which a gap is noticed in advance, the desire to come to an agreement or consensus is never appreciated. In this case, the goal is none other than to affirm the position itself, resorting to a whole set of arguments (of more or less high quality) to give force to what is being said and / or to bombard the opinion of the adversary (often by resorting to personal attacks or disregard of his ideas).

        It is vital to be open to debate, and also to the possibility that the other can bring something enriching.. It is not a question of being permeable to any attempt at persuasion or dissuasion, but of having a good criterion of listening out of respect. From this point of view, it is possible for the opponent to feel more comfortable and even interested in our thoughts.

        21. Allow digressions

        When a person we love has gone through a serious setback, we may feel the need to talk to them to avoid their pain, or even resort to the sad strategy of fixing the problem. In these cases, however, the most useful is to allow the other to speak simply: With this, you will be able to categorize your ideas more consistently, detecting the resources you have available to deal with what happened. Listening is sometimes better than intervening.

        22. Be in tune with your emotions

        All emotions have an experiential and expressive component. The first refers to how we feel them, and the second to how we communicate them. For true well-being, it is elementary that the two are aligned, so that it is important to speak and act in a coherent way with what is going on in us (With a person in full confidence). Wearing a mask, when prolonged for a long time, ends up becoming a very heavy burden.

        23. Prepare in advance

        In the event that we are going to be speaking in front of a large audience on a particular issue, we may experience a certain degree of anxiety. It is a natural experience and, unless it generates a truly overflowing emotion, it must be lived with acceptance. Every human being is afraid to submit to a situation in which he could be judgedIt is not an exclusive phenomenon of social phobia and does not involve other psychopathologies.

        One of the key tips before speaking in public is to prepare well for the topic at hand, review in front of a mirror, or film our performance and show it to others. In the latter case, people with excessive anxiety may corroborate that the way they perceive themselves (“I have acted disastrously”) does not correspond to reality, as they often judge themselves excessively.

        24. Take care of your appearance

        In the case of public speaking, it’s often essential to take special care of our appearance, because at the end of the day, that’s our cover letter (and first impression). Sometimes an inappropriate image precipitates negative judgments among those who listen to us, adversely conditioning the message we are trying to convey. Hygiene, the clothes we have chosen and even the rest that we can look like; they all influence the evaluation process.

        And it is that the appearance, in the end, says a lot about us. Thus, the halo effect describes how, from a particular physical detail, we tend to generalize a sequence of attributes that do not have to keep a cause and effect relationship with it. To cite just one example, many consider like-minded people to be smarter and nicer than those who are not (and vice versa), although they can reason easily that these two realities are not. have no connection.

        25. Take care of your voice

        People who speak for many hours each day should spend time taking care of their voice, as it is a tool whose overuse can lead to a state of acute or chronic impairment. Rest is essential because it prevents alterations in the phonatory system which could hinder the normal development of this activity.

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