Sometimes it really isn’t about what you say but how you say it. This is a statement often used in arguments and even more often laughed at, but in a way it rings true. After all actions speak louder than words, so if you say something and at the same time cross your fingers, blink or allow your intonation to change the meaning of your words, then you will be misunderstood no matter what your true intention was. If you want to avoid any misconception about who you are and what you mean, you need to stick to some very basic rules.
When you talk, the words carry out the main meaning, but your face and body play a role in how you’ll be taken. Too much gesturing, raising your brows, not looking somebody in the eye, talking too fast or elongating every word, all these factors will convince your listener that you’re not honest. Unnaturally high pitch or a breaking voice will make you sound nervous, and so will a giggle when talking about a serious topic. If you’re uncomfortable conversing with strangers or you have a very important speech to make, practice is your best friend. Standing in front of a mirror and moving on to talking with people you know and trust will help you ease into a social situation that otherwise would make you nervous.
What you say is also important, as people will compare your words to your actions and decide for themselves what to trust. If you make speeches against masses mindlessly following a trend and at the same time your look shows you’re a slave to couture fashion, you’ll sound silly and fake. Discussing animal cruelty standing in leather shoes will make you seem ignorant, and approving any unfair or illegal activity, even when it’s just saying somebody was right not to clean after their dog, will make your listeners think twice about your integrity.
We have one mouth and two ears for a reason, and that is to listen twice as much as we say. A lot of people tend to say everything that comes to their mind, thus putting themselves and others in uncomfortable situations when they divulge too much, or being rude by not letting anybody else in the company say a word. If you’re at a meeting, take a deep breath after you make a statement, in a restaurant take a bite of your pita bread sandwich or a sip of water to let others speak their minds. Stick to the point of a given conversation and don’t turn it into a monologue, or people will classify you as rude and not want to talk to you in the future.
Talking is the easiest form of communication, you don’t need any tools, you don’t need skills like reading or typing, but you do need common sense. Be polite, straight forward and true to yourself. Don’t say something just because you think you’re expected to say it, use language appropriate to a given situation and if you have nothing to say just listen and observe how others converse to learn this much needed art.