"Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks" -- Heinrich Helne
Eloquence (from French eloquence from Latin eloquentia) is fluent, forcible, elegant or persuasive speaking. It is primarily the power of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language, thereby producing conviction or persuasion. The term is also used for writing in a fluent style. The opposite of eloquent communication is nagging.
Eloquence is the attempt to get a set of tricky ideas into the mind of another person using the art of verbal charm. Managing employees requires eloquence; instilling ideas in children requires eloquence; and leading a country involves eloquence.Unfortunately, the idea of ‘eloquence’ has acquired a bad name. If a book is charmingly written, if a song makes people want to dance, if a product is well-marketed, if a person has a winning smile and sweet manners, suspicions only too easily develop.
Eloquence is a solution to a basic problem: our minds are sieve-like, we retain little; we are easily distracted, our emotions easily overpower our intellect; envy, fear and suspicion readily turn us against the views of others; our sympathy is moved more by individual cases than by abstract issues. To get a message properly received and retained, we have to acknowledge the peculiarities of our minds. It is not enough to be accurate, concise and logical. We need to do that yet trickier thing: touch the chords of the heart.
Exercises for increasing eloquence: -
1. Stand or sit with spine straight but relaxed.
Eloquence is more than just how you use language. It's also how you use your body language. The position of your back is the foundation of your body language and therefore the root of your eloquence.
2. Keep your chin up.
The position of your head is just as important as the position of your spine, a fact reflected in many common expressions. To "hold your head high," for example, is to show pride and determination. To be "downcast" means you're already beaten down.
3. Focus on your listeners.
Eloquence is meaningful only if people are listening to you, and they won't listen if you're thinking about something else or if your eyes are wandering all over the room. Eloquence without attention is mere speechifying.
4. Speak loudly enough to be heard.
For maximum eloquence, speak loudly enough so people farthest from you can hear but not so loudly that it's uncomfortable for those in front.
5. Buttress words with appropriate gestures.
Use your hands to emphasize key points. The easy way to learn this skill is to watch how celebrities and popular public speakers use gestures as they speak. Note how their hand movements seem to "emerge" from their words.
6. Strategically position your body.
Add power to your words by moving your body appropriately. For example, if you're speaking to a group from a stage, you might move from one spot to another to signal that you're introducing a new idea.
7. Use vivid words that everyone understands.
Clichés (especially biz-blab) are the opposite of eloquence. Use unexpected but common words or phrases that illustrate points in a memorable manner. Example: "common as houseflies" rather than "dime a dozen."
8. Speak at different speeds.
Speaking at a single speed quickly turns whatever you're saying into a monotonous drone. Instead, slow down and speed up depending upon the importance of what you're communicating at the time.
9. Use pauses to create emphasis.
Silence isn't just golden; it's also the crowning glory of eloquence. For example, a slight pause before you're about to say something important create suspense. It leads your audience to "hang on your every word."
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