October 10, 2011

You Need to Speak Up!

To many general notions, SPEAKING is a difficult skill to master, yet many learners truly acknowledge its power as a dynamic instrument to communicate, interact, advise, educate, and more as the list goes on. If you spend one day just to count the values of being a good speaker, then I believe you would need a long stick of pencil and a dozen of
blank pieces of paper to jot down the advantages as your thoughts flow through the extent of your attention. The point is there are numerous positive effects from being a good speaker (I bet know them too clearly).
It upsets me every time my students come admitting the false facts that because they are not native English speakers, they then don’t have to be good at speaking. Some added that they have tried to their hardest, yet they couldn’t be consistent enough to be conscious of their own speaking, and subsequently produced explicit errors (undesirable). While people may come up with different views regarding good speaking, I would recommend my students to highlight EFFECTIVE speaking, more than just being good.

Understand the Silent Enemies
  1. Fear
Fear is the number ONE foe, intimidating you to give up on your speaking practice. Fear of people; Fear of making mistakes; Fear of being judged; Fear of being different; Fear of fears. They are parts of human. So, how to get rid of them? I suggest you to stand firm physically and psychologically, and believe that you can do because a thousand good speakers somewhere have won these same battles you are facing now. As a matter of fact, they are no different from you. They are humans like you, share common feelings, and have limitation like us. Yet they found their ways winning their fear. Here is what you need to bear in mind--Nothing is beyond your capability. The problem lies at the point whether you are willing to take a step in or not.
  1. Carelessness
I witnessed a friend of mine who was doing a graduate degree in TESOL with me in Phnom Penh. Tep Livina is a good speaker for any situations he was in. He was careful with his speech, and took every moment seriously (and enjoyably). He always read books from home, and came to class with awesome ideas and interesting questions. That’s how things work! We plan, and plan, and plan in order to be effective. On the opposite side, carelessness causes you to doubt your own capability and allow fear and discouragement to take control your thoughts. Carelessness lowers down the degree of your consciousness and awareness of situations, and it then allows pressure to besiege. Thus, I suggest you to prepare and predict what might happen up on stage.   
Be a Good Observer 
More problems arises because students do control their attention that would lead to producing right language. A good speaker is, too, a good listener and observer. Pick up a role model! A role model is someone whom you believe to possess skills and are able to perform good/attractive speech. For example, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Malcolm X., ...etc. Observe his/her verbal and behavioral qualities such as the following:
  1. Patterns: Stick your head to the melody of speech as the person speaks. Notice sentences, pauses, and accent.
  2. Pace: It’s the speed of speech operation.
  3. Intonation: The up and down of stress and tone
  4. Meaningful and musical pauses: It’s so important to understand the messages of pauses. Some pauses are used as silent communicative instruments to make the message loud and clear in listeners’ head.
  5. Rhythms: Key the attractive and interestingness in voice projection
  6. Voice Purity: A good speaker wouldn’t choose to adopt a fake voice. Voices are the human identity and they are unique and particular.
  7. Natural Voice Projection: Pretensions in voice are less acceptable by many, except for some explicit reasons.
  8. Pitch and Tempo: It’s the highness and lowness of your voice. Remember, circumstances and purposes determine your pitch and tempo.
  9. Voice Flexibility: A good speaker is not a robot. Voice and tone of a speaker need to vary to ensure readers’ full attention.
  10. Chunk Creation: If a speaker is well planned and well-reheased, he/she would know the catch-up phrase, and the important ideas s/he wish to hand on.
To communicate clear and expressive ideas, you need to consider physical emphasis feats, because they will help intensify your messages, put more weights to the speech rigors, and more interestingly they light up attractiveness and clarity. Consider the following:
  1. Postures
  2. Facial Expression
  3. Hand movements
  4. Body movements
Be a Consistent Practitioner
Knowing how to operate any tasks is not the end yet. There are more factors you need to strengthen and cooperate when you proceed the task in action. I suggest you to build unshakable passion regarding the issue of Speaking. Know that you are practicing your speech everywhere, and with everyone you meet. Call each time you talk to people an opportunity for your serious practice, yet do it naturally and enjoyably.
In sum, be consistent with the journey you are going to take, and believe that your success await you somewhere at the corner. For more, to engage the effective speaking skill, you should never undermine the key principles (as I call them central and dynamic for productive speech):
  • Sincerity: Be clear and natural to your points communicating; It’s not embarrassing to talk about your mistakes.
  • Friendliness: Establish positive and relaxed environment for speech.
  • , and Authority: Be clear of your expertise; Don’t try to cover things you are not good at.


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