11 Techniques of Good Talking

11 Techniques of Good Talking

Business people face a wide variety of face-to-face situations daily, each requiring well-developed skills in speaking and listening. Oral communication takes more time than written communication in business. People spend more time talking than writing.

Much of the oral communication in business is informal, person-to-person face-to-face communication that occurs whenever people get together. We all have experience with oral communication, and most of us do it reasonably well (Lesikar and Flatley, 2005: 411).

However, all of us can improve our informal talking and listening with practice.

Definition of Talking

Talking is the oral expression of knowledge, viewpoints, and emotions through words. It occurs between two people and happens face-to-face. Talking is the most frequently used form of communication in all types of organizations.

Talking may be formal or informal. Many business situations are best handled with the talking technique. It replaces many of the body movements we made before we were able to talk. Various body movements supplement it as well.

11 Techniques of Good Talking

Talking is extemporaneous speaking or conversation. It is an almost instantaneous process, where we convert our thoughts almost immediately into language and transmit that language to our listeners.

There is no way to know precisely where a conversation is going. There is almost no opportunity to ponder the best way of saying something and none whatsoever to reconsider something we have already said.

Here, talkers are on the firing line the moment they open their mouths. Thus, talkers must condition themselves to do reflexively; that is, say the right things, the right way, and the first time to achieve the intended reactions.

Wells (1998: 532-534) has prescribed a few guidelines to become a better talker. Lesikar and Flatley (2005: 413-414) have also suggested four elements of good talking.

Other experts have recommended guidelines too. The following are common suggestions to be an effective talker/speaker:

Keep Your Mind on Your Purpose

When talking is supplementing written communication, keep in mind the purpose of that communication. When it is extemporaneous, focus your mind on the matter at hand and structure your talk accordingly.

Control Your Intensity

Maintain balanced enthusiasm in your conversation. Avoid becoming overly intense, speaking too loudly or rapidly, using highly connotative language, or excessive gesturing. These traits can distract your listener and shift their focus from your message to your intensity. However, showing some feeling for what you are saying is essential to engage your listener, so it’s a matter of balance.

Avoid Tangents

Don’t allow the conversation to go off on tangents. Tangents can occur when one idea leads to another, which then reminds you of a third, and so on.

While you can’t stop yourself from thinking tangentially, you can resist expressing those tangents when they come to mind. If the person you’re talking to goes off on a tangent, follow it only briefly as courtesy dictates, then gracefully guide the discussion back on track.

Control Your Voice Quality

Good voice quality is crucial for effective talking. Voice quality encompasses pitch, delivery, speed, and volume (see speech for more details).

Voices vary widely, from unpleasant to melodious. While you can’t change your inherent voice, you can improve it. Analyze your voice with the help of a recorder, listen carefully, and consider your life experience with your voice. Then, take steps to enhance it.

Maintain an Attractive Style

Talking style refers to a set of voice behaviors that make a person’s speech unique. It involves how pitch, speed, and volume of the voice blend together during conversation. Your voice may be polished, smooth, rough, or dull. Honestly assess your talking style and identify areas for improvement. Then, work on enhancing it.

Choose Familiar Words

Select words that are familiar to your listener. Use words appropriate to the subject and situation. Choose words that convey the desired level of formality and courtesy without talking down to or patronizing your listener.

Keep Your Talk Appropriate to the Situation

Ensure that your language and tone are appropriate for the situation, a concept known as adaptation. Adaptation involves tailoring your message to suit the listener. It takes into account the combined effect of words, voice, and style, and it can vary depending on the circumstances.

Be Courteous

Good talkers are courteous and do not seek to dominate the conversation. Talkers who raise their voices and dominate others are generally disliked. Good talkers encourage others to express their views. Therefore, always practice courtesy in your conversations.

Maintain Eye Contact

Eye contact promotes intimacy and successful communication. Therefore, maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking to.

Use Appropriate Non-verbal Signals

Non-verbal signals, such as kinesics, proximity, and paralanguage, can significantly enhance your ability to convey your message and influence your listener.

Close with Courtesy

End your conversation with a polite farewell or well-wishing statement that is appropriate for the situation or the person you are speaking to.