The symbiotic relation between the process of cognition and verbal communication creates an extremely powerful grid of interconnected thoughts, views, and expressiveness that will always bear an astonishing influence on a listener if presented properly. The two prompts discussed are the following: ways of incorporating more effective language into speeches; ways of maintaining eye contact with the audience, the importance of smiling and gesturing, improving one’s non-verbal communication. The speech analyzed in the second part of the work was delivered by Martin Luther King in 1963 in Washington.
The effective use of language is based on six basic principles, such as accuracy, appropriateness, conciseness, clarity, concreteness, and vividness. The principle of accuracy presupposes three main areas to be elaborated: meaning, grammar, and context. The appropriateness principle consists in matching the language to the situation, audience, topic and the speaker as an individual. In order to be concise one resorts to elimination of unnecessary words, or verbiage. Clarity in public speaking aims at making ideas easier to comprehend. One of the best ways to be clear is to avoid jargon. However, given the fact that many topics involve an abundance of technical terms, sometimes it is necessary to find jargon equivalents to make the terms understandable to the audience. It is advisable to resort to concrete specific words. Vague lexical units should be avoided as they have indefinite boundaries (Jaffe, 2007).
The very essence of language already consists in being effective through performing the goal of communication; however, in the domain of public speaking one has to account for denotative and connotative meanings of the verbal unit. The former refers to what the word identifies (Jaffe, 2007). The latter represents a combination of associations that arise in the mind of listener when certain words are uttered. In order to exploit such strategy, the speaker is to know the additional meanings that the word bears in a given social and cultural situation. The effective use of such strategy lies in being able to connote certain feelings, ideas and associations by using specific lexical units.
The delivery of any speech presupposes both verbal and non-verbal behaviors to be exploited. Non-verbal means of communication include eye contact between the audience and the speaker, smiling, and gesturing. To maintain natural eye contact, one is to be familiar with material delivered and look at as many members of the audience as possible. At the beginning of the speech it might be helpful to spot few listeners who respond supportively with positive facial expressions and look at them to help you start out. In the process of delivery it is worth broadening eye contact field to include every member of the audience. It is advisable to hold eye contact with individual members for at least three seconds without skimming across rows of faces. The eye contact should be moved randomly throughout the room. It would be inappropriate to leave any of the room segments neglected. During any speech delivery, the speaker is to have eye contact 85% of the time. Another 15% can be used to read technical material or briefly refer to some notes. It is of crucial importance to maintain eye contact during the introduction, conclusion and the most significant points uttered (Sprague, Stuart & Bodary, 2010).
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One element of non-verbal communication that has the same meaning in every culture is the smile. Smiling is a powerful tool; however, it should not be underused or misused. The speaker should smile in a genuine way whenever it can reinforce the message and ideas. Smiling helps establish rapport, comfort, and goodwill between the speaker and the audience. Another aspect of non-verbal communication is gesturing. Gestures are important in conveying significant ideas, as they help the listener to grasp the words in a better way and the speaker - to strike a successful balance between the body language and the utterances. However, nothing contrived or rehearsed should be used if the speaker does not feel comfortable with it (Sprague, Stuart & Bodary, 2010).
The speech chosen for the analysis was delivered by Martin Luther King on the 28th of August, 1963. Martin Luther King adheres to all the six principles of efficient language use. He is clear, concise, and accurate in his expressions. The most distinguishable feature is the vividness of images of the speech. The vividness is achieved with help of distinct rhetorical devices and expressive means. Some of the brightest rhetorical devices exploited are anaphora, allusions, the repetition of a theme words, metaphors, and similes. Anaphora is the repetition of the same first word or phrase in successive sentences (Dupriez, 1991). The most obvious anaphora is represented in the phrase “I have a dream” (Lucas, 2004). Allusion is a reference to any historical event, public figure or geographical place, incorporated into the speech (Dupriez, 1991). Martin Luther uses a very symbolic allusion to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address with the phrase “four score and seven years ago” (Lucas, 2004). Moreover, throughout the entire speech Martin Luther resorts to repeating key lexical items that represent the core of his address: dream, nation, justice, and freedom (Lucas, 2004). The combination of the language means used together with rhetorical devices creates a lasting impression on the listener and conveys the most important ideas to be remembered.
The speech was also enriched with word structures of metaphors and similes for creating figurative images. Such devices were especially effective in creating contrastive pictures of freedom and slavery, evil and goodness. The images aided better understanding of the ideas expressed. Metaphors and similes were applied successfully for describing the object or phenomena in a more artistic way, conjuring up the verbal image.
Both verbal and non-verbal means of communicating ideas exist in a close interconnection. One’s delivery should incorporate effective language means carefully thought through with regard to their cultural appropriateness, an elaborated structure of the presented unit, and a passionate speaker capable of combining the utterances with non-verbal communication.
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