Saturday, July 30, 2011

For the Foreign-borns: Spelling Out a Word as a Tactic to Offset Loss of Communication Because of Accent

If you speak with an accent, as I do, chances are that some of the words you typically use in a presentation are unintelligible to many in the audience. For instance, when talking about the power of the synonym technique, I love to use the word “thrust” because it is so very apt (it’ll be clear why after you’ve read the next paragraph). Unfortunately, some in the audience mistake my “thrust” to be “trust” and, not surprisingly, become confused. So, what is the one easy tactic I employ to offset that bit of loss in communication? I simply spell out the word immediately after uttering it. I elaborate below.

Earlier this year, while speaking before large audiences at dental conventions in Phoenix and Portland (Oregon), I said “thrust” at least once in each session, and the first time I used that word before each audience, I followed up that utterance by hurriedly spelling it out as well, thus ensuring 100% understanding by everyone in the room. To go into even more detail, here is an example of what I said: “…..synonyms work powerfully because the second word amplifies or reinforces the previous word’s thrust—as in t-h-r-u-s-t—and thus makes that piece of communication much more robust, indelible, and impactful….” [In the previous sentence, I have bolded thrust to imply that it was uttered with greater emphasis and amplitude than the subsequent “as in t-h-r-u-s-t.”]

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

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