The ‘art’ of talking!
Many of us think that the art of talking concerns only professional orators. The communication which we make in our daily life does not occur to us, as that needs an art. “We just talk”, we would say, “Why do we need to think of it as an art? Do we have an audience or what? Just talk...” would be an inevitable reply. But talking has more to it. The way you talk can make or crack relationships. Isn’t it said, “Only a few people talk, rest all make sounds”.
There are some involuntary practices people develop while talking.
Some would stutter and stumble the moment they start to talk. We might even wonder they have a stammering problem; but that wouldn’t be - they would be quite fluent in a subject of their interest. It is that these people begin talking even before they decide what they are going to talk, too eager and nervous to plan or formulate their thoughts, that’s why the stuttering and stumbling.
Some would have conceived what they want to talk but would begin talking without exactly determining what words they want to use. Then they would pause in their sentence, frequently… making the listeners lose interest in what they are going to say.
Yet others would talk, but would frequently get lost while talking; they would stare somewhere and turn to the listener to ask, “Where was I?” Some would repeat the same thing again and again, leaving the listener very embarrassed to point them out that it is the nth time they are saying that! Some would never come to the point right away. They would beat around the bush for a simple yes or no answer. Some are quite strange! When somebody is talking to them on a topic, all of a sudden they would say something totally unconnected and incoherent. The speaker wouldn’t be sure if they were listening at all, in the first place.
These are of course some of the spontaneous behaviors we develop. But there are certain other things we do, while talking, deliberately.
For instance, some, as soon as an opinion is laid will oppose it. “It isn’t that way!” they would say, leaving the listeners in a gasp. They would then substantiate their point. For instance, if we say, the films of an actor X is good, they would immediately spring and say, “No, no you can’t say that. His films aren’t good at all. In fact he is dumb”. Subsequently, if we say, just to comfort them, “May be the films of Mr. X aren’t that impressive”, strangely again they would say, “We can’t totally conclude it that way either”, leaving all the listeners puzzled. Talking to such people is really a trouble. You will never get to know whether to accept or deny what they say! After talking to them for some time, we can safely conclude that the main motto of such people is not to make talks but to just oppose whatever is being told to them.
Some have a strange habit. They keep blowing their own trumpet. “Last year I did that; last month this, yesterday that and today this”. If somebody would interrupt them they would flatly say, “Wait a minute, don’t interrupt me” and continue blowing. Nobody knows where the end would be! They would not acknowledge any accomplishment done by anybody else other than themselves! You can’t even attempt to talk to them of somebody else. It is all “I” in their talk, no “you”s, not even “we”s.
They would say things like, “I am such a great person that I really don’t like to talk to anybody else who is not of my range”, thoroughly belittling and baffling those who are talking to them. These sort of people are also mostly of the type who would just advice anybody and everybody without really considering whether they would need it or not! They take it for granted that almost everybody around them is ignorant of almost everything…
There is also this habit seen in people. They like teasing or pulling the legs of their kiths or spouses. There are indeed, a lot many people like this.
The husband always pulls the leg of his wife. He constantly teases the way she cooks, the way she sings or the way their married life is going or whatever. This wouldn’t always sound good in a gathering. How aren’t they aware of that? Spoken in privacy they would say, they did not mean anything by saying such things. Good! Why should anybody say anything they didn’t mean?
Wives teasing the husbands are also not less. They would casually say “he doesn’t know anything about the house. It’s all me” or “he can’t remember the routes. If it wasn’t for me we would have lost the way” or “he is so dumb without me around” with their husbands beside them. We can’t win anybody’s heart by pulling their legs. Or can we?
Some people are good at commenting and so they do that in every sentence they talk. For instance, the moment they see their colleague entering the office, they would say, “your hair is looking terrible”, instead of a “good morning”. Then they would say about the face, dress, shoes and almost everything. They themselves grant the right to comment about other’s delicate issues like walking style, sitting style and even their belly – “that’s because you eat a lot and don’t exercise” they would advice!
Some would give remarks as and when they talk. If, for example, a person keeps saying the words “you see” again and again, they would just say, “My God! I hate people who say this ‘you see’ in every sentence”. Are they coming to say they hate the person who is just in front of them and talking to them?
Some would throw a harsh response as soon as a person told something. For instance if a person said, “I like Mr. X”, they would immediately say, “My god! He is such a terrible guy. I just can’t imagine which senseless idiot can like him”. The person who made the remark would become dumbfound. Of course he would be! Just now he was awarded the title of ‘senseless idiot’.
Harsh responses are actually of many more types. In fact, there are too many people who use them. There are varieties like, “Shut up, you can talk when you are asked to” or “don’t ‘you’ inquire about that shop, it isn’t for people who won’t spend money” or simply, “I know you would give such a stupid answer”.
There are also these types of persons who care a great deal about tongue slips. They would laugh and laugh at one mistake; they will remember it for years; and important - they would keep reminding it to the person who made it and to everybody around, all the time. Some believe in being humorous, so they keep joking, careless about the mood of the person talking to them or the seriousness of the topic that is discussed. The opposite is also true – some are too sensitive. Whilst in a casual talk, they would suddenly begin to cry and the listeners would feel embarrassed – should they continue, stop, go away or stay?
It isn’t always that only flaws don’t make a good communication. Even flawless talking makes a bad communication if done at a wrong, unneeded time. This is mostly done by elders and people who are in higher position; not that others wouldn’t do it – if they did, the listeners can always excuse themselves. But if the big talk was done by an elderly person, the listener has to be polite and listen to it, whether or not he needs it; he cannot afford to be rude to an elder!
Similarly, lots of people who hold higher positions do this. Say for instance, when the subordinate would go to the higher official and say, “Sir, our team has certain doubts in this particular work”, the official would talk about the ‘team’ for half-an-hour, ‘doubts’ for half-an-hour and ‘work’ for half-an-hour, totally for an hour and a half, until he would get an important call and release the employee, without making any mention on clearing his doubt! The same thing here – the subordinate cannot say to his boss, “I don’t want to hear to your lecture!”
Liking towards each other happens only by good character. Character is nothing but habits. If we do not cultivate the habit of doing good talk, we would be risking being hated by most of the people around us. People would talk to us and greet , but just for the sake of it and we would never be aware of it. And it could get too late to rectify our mistakes even if we were made aware.
Whoever we are – an employer, an employee, a student or just a domestic person with no office responsibilities – it is always better to acquire the art of talking. That way we would be nice people with fine qualities, capable of giving a comfort feeling to the people who talk to us.