Verbal communication is critical in life because it helps us build and maintain relationships, perform well in our jobs, and better ourselves. As a result, the ability to speak clearly and persuasively is an absolute necessity.
Words can determine a person’s level of influence and charisma. As the world becomes more interconnected and complex, a person’s opportunities and triumphs are increasingly defined by the words he uses and how he delivers them.
In the book The Three Skills Towards Eloquence by Sheng Anzhi, a popular author from China, we learn about the three critical aspects of being eloquent: the art of using compliments, humour, and polite rejection.
A well-timed genuine compliment could get people to accept your request.
When presented timely with the appropriate tone, compliments have the power to transform lives. Our desire to be praised by others is innate. When we want to ask someone for a favour, a well-delivered compliment may increase the likelihood of accepting the request. The best thing is that when people feel good about themselves, they are more inclined to feel good around you. You develop respect by gradually acquiring the trust of others around you.
For the most impact, the content of the compliments could be focused on specific areas:
- Compliment what matters the most to the person
- Compliment a newly discovered virtue you discovered
- Compliment on the things you hope the other party will do
- Compliment on the things that the person feels proudest
Separately, while the content of the praise is essential, it is more important to understand the other person’s background, temperament, emotional requirements, age, gender, and language habits when complimenting someone.
When compliments are judged falsely, they appear to come across as flattery, which the recipients and people around them may interpret poorly. Unlike flattery, genuine compliments are founded on facts and come from the heart. Instead of commenting on areas where the other party is accustomed to hearing them, discover new angles to compliment the person to make the compliment stand out. The more specific and comprehensive the compliment, the more likely the other party will accept it.
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Humour is the ultimate social lubricant to help put others at ease.
Humour is the most frequently used social lubricant across all cultures and age groups. Humour is often employed as a social lubricant to make light of demanding or stressful situations, and to generally liven up a social atmosphere. Humour typically reflects a person’s underlying intelligence and wit.
Funny people make you feel at ease. They appear outgoing, upbeat, and likeable. They have a gift for changing people’s attitudes and assisting others in seeing the positive in people and situations.
Humour, like compliments, must be used responsibly. Excessive or inappropriate humour may make you seem untrustworthy since people are unsure when to take you seriously. Furthermore, many assume that jokes include a grain of truth. So, when a joke is based on the discomfort of others, it can backfire.
Humour is a vocabulary that can be learned over time.
The way to deliver humour is more of an art than a science. It is about making mental connections between two seemingly unconnected entities and formulating a punchline. While there is no one-size-fits-all style for humour, it has a vocabulary that may be learned over time. Understanding these techniques will help you master the language and art of humour:
Connotation Shift: The same word might have multiple connotations for various people. For example, “raining cats and dogs” is a well-known idiom referring to heavy rainfall. However, the same sentence may have a different meaning for a cat lover. In a joke, the punchline may include gently tweaking the connotation for the receiver, reflecting an understanding of the recipient’s preferences, such as what delights or irritates them. Reflective thinking or a random incident can elicit an invisible meaning swap or brilliant wordplay.
Complete Absurdity: What appears as nonsense and an exaggeration could be used to reflect the absurdity of an actual situation or person. People laugh at the concept that something is so ridiculous that they can’t believe it’s real. This type of comedy can be found in characters such as Charlie Chaplin or Mr Bean, where the comical expression is outrageous yet somewhat possible and believable.
Imitation: Children are natural imitators. For example, hearing youngsters mimic their parents can be amusing to listeners. The language of humour is parroting. The psychological mechanism is straightforward: we connect the dots between silly impersonation and mindless copying. When we watch a child mechanically repeating something ridiculous that is being uttered, it makes us chuckle.
Learning how to reject someone is vital to becoming more eloquent.
Eloquent speakers not only know how to compliment and use humour, but they also know how to reject others politely.
The key to mastering the art of rejection is to view rejection as a positive experience. It is natural for us to perceive rejection as something that should be avoided. Nonetheless, we must recognise the value of rejection as it allows us to prioritise what is essential and will enable us to step back and see the broader picture.
For example, you could be working but are distracted by a chatty colleague. While it would be impolite to silence him, a polite rejection could be, “Hey, I’d love to talk more with you later, but I’m working on a project with a tight deadline.”
By helping people see the goal you are aiming toward, you are sticking to your principles while also giving truthful information. That way, you avoid being too blunt or direct, hurting feelings and losing potential opportunities for future collaboration.
The rejection will benefit you and, by reminding your chatty colleague of their own work as well, could potentially help the chatty colleague as well.
By learning the three essential communication skills, you will be able to identify your unique communication strengths.
By learning the art of using compliments, humour, and rejection, you will be able to strengthen your communication skills and enhance your popularity amongst your peers, bosses, and potential employers. As you master them, you will uncover a newfound influence and a new you.
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