CEFR_C2 (IELTS 8-8.5)

10. How to speak so that people want to listen (subtitles)

2022-01-09 18:44:07 simyang 0


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00:13

The human voice:

00:16

It's the instrument we all play.

00:18

It's the most powerful sound in the world, probably.

00:21

It's the only one that can start a war or say "I love you."

00:23

And yet many people have the experience

00:25

that when they speak, people don't listen to them.

00:28

And why is that?

00:29

How can we speak powerfully to make change in the world?

00:33

What I'd like to suggest,

00:34

there are a number of habits that we need to move away from.

00:37

I've assembled for your pleasure here seven deadly sins of speaking.

00:41

I'm not pretending this is an exhaustive list,

00:43

but these seven, I think, are pretty large habits that we can all fall in o.

00:49

First, gossip.

00:51

Speaking ill of somebody who's not present.

00:54

Not a nice habit, and we know perfectly well

00:56

the person gossiping, five minutes later, will be gossiping about us.

01:01

Second, judging.

01:03

We know people who are like this in conversation,

01:05

and it's very hard to listen to somebody

01:07

if you know that you're being judged and found wanting at the same time.

01:12

Third, negativity.

01:14

You can fall in o this.

01:15

My mother, in the last years of her life, became very negative,

01:18

and it's hard to listen.

01:20

I remember one day, I said to her, "It's October 1 today,"

01:22

and she said, "I know, isn't it dreadful?"

01:25

(Laughter)

01:27

It's hard to listen when somebody's that negative.

01:29

(Laughter)

01:30

And another form of negativity, complaining.

01:33

Well, this is the national art of the U.K.

01:37

It's our national sport.

01:38

We complain about the weather, sport, about politics, about everything,

01:42

but actually, complaining is viral misery.

01:44

It's not spreading sunshine and lightness in the world.

01:48

Excuses.

01:50

We've all met this guy.

01:51

Maybe we've all been this guy.

01:52

Some people have a blamethrower.

01:55

They just pass it on to everybody else

01:57

and don't take responsibility for their actions,

02:00

and again, hard to listen to somebody who is being like that.

02:02

Penultimate, the sixth of the seven,

02:04

embroidery, exaggeration.

02:08

It demeans our language, actually, sometimes.

02:10

For example, if I see something that really is awesome,

02:13

what do I call it?

02:15

(Laughter)

02:17

And then, of course, this exaggeration becomes lying,

02:21

and we don't want to listen to people we know are lying to us.

02:24

And finally, dogmatism.

02:27

The confusion of facts with opinions.

02:31

When those two things get conflated,

02:33

you're listening in o the wind.

02:34

You know, somebody is bombarding you with their opinions as if they were true.

02:38

It's difficult to listen to that.

02:40

So here they are, seven deadly sins of speaking.

02:43

These are things I think we need to avoid.

02:46

But is there a positive way to think about this?

02:48

Yes, there is.

02:50

I'd like to suggest that there are four really powerful cornerstones, foundations,

02:55

that we can stand on if we want our speech

02:58

to be powerful and to make change in the world.

03:02

Fortunately, these things spell a word.

03:04

The word is "hail," and it has a great definition as well.

03:07

I'm not talking about the stuff that falls from the sky

03:10

and hits you on the head.

03:11

I'm talking about this definition,

03:13

to greet or acclaim enthusiastically,

03:15

which is how I think our words will be received

03:17

if we stand on these four things.

03:18

So what do they stand for?

03:20

See if you can guess.

03:22

The H, honesty, of course,

03:25

being true in what you say, being straight and clear.

03:28

The A is authenticity, just being yourself.

03:32

A friend of mine described it as standing in your own truth,

03:35

which I think is a lovely way to put it.

03:37

The I is integrity, being your word,

03:40

actually doing what you say,

03:41

and being somebody people can trust.

03:44

And the L is love.

03:47

I don't mean romantic love,

03:49

but I do mean wishing people well, for two reasons.

03:52

First of all, I think absolute honesty may not be what we want.

03:56

I mean, my goodness, you look ugly this morning.

03:58

Perhaps that's not necessary.

04:02

Tempered with love, of course, honesty is a great thing.

04:05

But also, if you're really wishing somebody well,

04:08

it's very hard to judge them at the same time.

04:11

I'm not even sure you can do those two things simultaneously.

04:15

So hail.

04:16

Also, now that's what you say,

04:18

and it's like the old song, it is what you say,

04:20

it's also the way that you say it.

04:22

You have an amazing toolbox.

04:24

This instrument is incredible,

04:26

and yet this is a toolbox that very few people have ever opened.

04:29

I'd like to have a little rummage in there with you now

04:32

and just pull a few tools out

04:33

that you might like to take away and play with,

04:36

which will increase the power of your speaking.

04:38

Register, for example.

04:39

Now, falsetto register may not be very useful most of the time,

04:44

but there's a register in between.

04:46

I'm not going to get very technical about this

04:48

for any of you who are voice coaches.

04:50

You can locate your voice, however.

04:51

So if I talk up here in my nose, you can hear the difference.

04:54

If I go down here in my throat,

04:56

which is where most of us speak from most of the time.

04:58

But if you want weight,

05:00

you need to go down here to the chest.

05:03

You hear the difference?

05:04

We vote for politicians with lower voices, it's true,

05:08

because we associate depth with power

05:11

and with authority.

05:14

That's register.

05:16

Then we have timbre.

05:17

It's the way your voice feels.

05:19

Again, the research shows

05:20

that we prefer voices which are rich, smooth, warm,

05:24

like hot chocolate.

05:26

Well if that's not you, that's not the end of the world,

05:29

because you can train.

05:31

Go and get a voice coach.

05:32

And there are amazing things you can do

05:34

with breathing, with posture, and with exercises

05:36

to improve the timbre of your voice.

05:39

Then prosody. I love prosody.

05:41

This is the sing-song, the meta-language

05:43

that we use in order to impart meaning.

05:45

It's root one for meaning in conversation.

05:48

People who speak all on one note are really quite hard to listen to

05:52

if they don't have any prosody at all.

05:54

That's where the word "monotonic" comes from,

05:57

or monotonous, monotone.

06:00

Also, we have repetitive prosody now coming in,

06:03

where every sentence ends as if it were a question

06:06

when it's actually not a question, it's a statement?

06:08

(Laughter)

06:11

And if you repeat that one,

06:12

it's actually restricting your ability to communicate through prosody,

06:16

which I think is a shame,

06:17

so let's try and break that habit.

06:21

Pace.

06:22

I can get very excited by saying something really quickly,

06:25

or I can slow right down to emphasize,

06:28

and at the end of that, of course, is our old friend silence.

06:34

There's nothing wrong with a bit of silence in a talk, is there?

06:38

We don't have to fill it with ums and ahs.

06:41

It can be very powerful.

06:43

Of course, pitch often goes along with pace

06:46

to indicate arousal, but you can do it just with pitch.

06:48

Where did you leave my keys?

06:50

(Higher pitch) Where did you leave my keys?

06:52

So, slightly different meaning in those two deliveries.

06:56

And finally, volume.

06:58

(Loud) I can get really excited by using volume.

07:01

Sorry about that, if I startled anybody.

07:03

Or, I can have you really pay attention by getting very quiet.

07:08

Some people broadcast the whole time.

07:10

Try not to do that.

07:11

That's called sodcasting,

07:13

(Laughter)

07:15

Imposing your sound on people around you carelessly and inconsiderately.

07:20

Not nice.

07:21

Of course, where this all comes in o play most of all

07:23

is when you've got something really important to do.

07:26

It might be standing on a stage like this and giving a talk to people.

07:29

It might be proposing marriage,

07:31

asking for a raise, a wedding speech.

07:34

Whatever it is, if it's really important,

07:36

you owe it to yourself to look at this toolbox

07:40

and the engine that it's going to work on,

07:42

and no engine works well without being warmed up.

07:45

Warm up your voice.

07:47

Actually, let me show you how to do that.

07:49

Would you all like to stand up for a moment?

07:52

I'm going to show you

07:53

the six vocal warm-up exercises that I do before every talk I ever do.

07:58

Any time you're going to talk to anybody important, do these.

08:01

First, arms up, deep breath in,

08:04

and sigh out, ahhhhh, like that.

08:07

One more time.

08:09

Ahhhh, very good.

08:12

Now we're going to warm up our lips,

08:14

and we're going to go Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba,

08:16

Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba. Very good.

08:19

And now, brrrrrrrrrr,

08:22

just like when you were a kid.

08:24

Brrrr. Now your lips should be coming alive.

08:26

We're going to do the tongue next

08:28

with exaggerated la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.

08:32

Beautiful. You're getting really good at this.

08:35

And then, roll an R. Rrrrrrr.

08:37

That's like champagne for the tongue.

08:40

Finally, and if I can only do one,

08:42

the pros call this the siren.

08:44

It's really good. It starts with "we" and goes to "aw."

08:46

The "we" is high, the "aw" is low.

08:48

So you go, weeeaawww, weeeaawww.

08:54

Fantastic. Give yourselves a round of applause.

08:56

Take a seat, thank you.

08:58

(Applause)

08:59

Next time you speak, do those in advance.

09:02

Now let me just put this in context to close.

09:04

This is a serious point here.

09:07

This is where we are now, right?

09:09

We speak not very well

09:10

to people who simply aren't listening

09:12

in an environment that's all about noise and bad acoustics.

09:15

I have talked about that on this stage in different phases.

09:18

What would the world be like

09:20

if we were speaking powerfully

09:22

to people who were listening consciously

09:24

in environments which were actually fit for purpose?

09:27

Or to make that a bit larger,

09:30

what would the world be like

09:31

if we were creating sound consciously

09:34

and consuming sound consciously

09:36

and designing all our environments

09:38

consciously for sound?

09:39

That would be a world that does sound beautiful,

09:42

and one where understanding would be the norm,

09:46

and that is an idea worth spreading.

09:49

Thank you.

09:50

(Applause)


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