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The Pleasure Principle

of Public Speaking






The Slow Speech Movement: Hold Forth at the Pace of Listening

By Lee Glickstein

Time continues to speed up for so many of us and it shows up in how we communicate and I'm not here to suggest you slow down and take a pause between what should be shorter sentences because you've got so much to do and so do I and we don't have control anyway of the accelerating demands of this quickening electronic pace of life that continually threatens to leave us behind if we try to catch our breath and take a moment to feel into what the next sentence wants to be, but...

{Full breath}

If you happen to be talking to clarify, inform, or inspire, speaking at a typical pace as in the paragraph above actually wastes time and energy through miscommunication and missed communication.

When it is truly important to be heard, whether eye-to-eye or on the phone, we want to attune to the pace of actual listening. Short sentences, rather than those strung together with "and" or "so," and without filler words such as "uh," "um" and "you know," are listener-friendly. A pause between sentences, within sentences, and a longer stop between spoken paragraphs are listener-heavenly.

But trying to follow these guidelines as a technique won't do it. The Slow Speech Movement requires shifting where your voice itself is coming from. On the phone I put my hand on my belly or my heart and feel the vibration of the sound emanating from the center of my body. I feel the pleasure of my tones flowing from my being into my listener(s).

In front of a group, I often start with my hand on my heart, and go there and take a breath any time I sense I am beginning to speed. 

Filler Words 

"Uhs" and "ums" signal you are speaking from your head. When you speak from your body you do not use filler words or string sentences together with "and" or "so." It is not these words themselves that create disconnect with your listeners. Rather, it is where they are coming from that irritates the flow of comprehension.

Maintaining Relational Presence through your eyes with one person at a time supports the natural connection from the center of your being to theirs (or from the connection at the center of the earth if that image works for you). On the phone, without the visual support, Relational Voice Presence requires extra attention to the body and earth connection.

The Slow Speech Movement gently asks us to practice slowing waaaaaay down with a supportive listener or group, on the phone or eye-to-eye. This may be quite uncomfortable at first and you may imagine that this pace is too boring and impractical for the "real world." But when you finally lock into the pleasure of this way of holding forth when being heard is a priority, you will be able to pick up and vary your pace without going back into your head and losing presence.

And here is the best part. When organically arrived at, Slow Speech allows you to access more of your natural brilliance and essential clarity. The sound and feel of your voice generates pleasure within yourself, allowing your listeners to relax into their own deeper intelligence.

© Copyright 2012, Lee Glickstein. All rights reserved.



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