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How Rate of Speech Impacts Diplomacy

How much does the pace of speech matter in diplomatic speaking? What about credibility or persuasiveness? The answer is a lot, according to Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker.

By
Lisa B. Marshall,
May 6, 2016
Episode #340

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The pace at which you deliver news is also part of diplomacy. Like above, discovering the “right” pace, or the most diplomatic pace, depends on the situation. I think any respectful communication gives the right amount of time to the communication. So when discussing an  important matter, make the other person feel that he or she is the most important person to you right now, that the conversation is not being rushed, and that what the other person is communicating is important and has been heard and understood.

I think any respectful communication gives the right amount of time to the communication.

Rate of Speech and Courtesy

Part of “not rushing” also has to do with not rushing to conclusions. Allow your conversation partner to speak. This can be particularly difficult if you have a strong emotional reaction. So part of pacing for diplomatic communication is to know when to ask for a break or to know when to keep silent, or even perhaps to say, “Now is not the right time to discuss this,” and suggest a better time to have the conversation.

Remember, too, not to interrupt. Sometimes you’re speaking to someone who tends to make long pauses, and you think the person is finished speaking so you begin to respond. This can come off as very rude, or even insensitive if you’re talking about a sensitive topic. The best thing to do is to try to listen for a while without sharing your thoughts. This way you can gauge how long the other person’s natural pause pattern is. Once you’ve determined this, you can pretty easily determine when the person is just taking a quick pause and when she is finished.

Whew! That’s a very complicated answer! But as I said, human communication is a complicated thing. We have the incredible ability to express everything—from detailed facts to abstract thought, from tender emotion to dramatic stories. Because of this our communication is very subtle and nuanced. The best communicators, the most diplomatic communicators, become students of human nature and are able to interpret all the subtle and not-so-subtle cues that all people give. This is called Social Intelligence (basically your social IQ). Are some people naturally better at this than others? Yes, but here’s the good news: it is mostly a learned trait. All that is needed to develop a high SI is to really care about others and to start observing, listening, and practicing.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

This is Lisa B. Marshall, moving you from mediocre to memorable, from information to influence, and from worker to leader! I invite you to read my best-selling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview, listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk, and invest in your professional development via my online courses Powerful PresenterExpert Presenter, or Influence: Maximize Your Impact

As always, your success is my business!  

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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