Every communicative act conducted by means of oral language aims at: informing, communicating, persuading our interlocutor or a wider audience.
The communicative act normally involves more than one speaker: this renders the development of a connection indispensable for the successful interchange of messages.
To successfully deliver a message on a given topic, the speaker should attend for cohesion of ideas, relevance of the output with the topic (coherence) and the employment of appropriate language, to ensure comprehension.
Regardless of the topic, there is a set of principles permeating the act of speaking
- Do not rush into providing with an answer immediately: speaking unfolds gradually, one thought naturally leads to the next relevant thought, to comprise a meaningful whole. Therefore, it is a procedure, not a product. Natural grading of speaking, allowing pauses and re-consideration, is, interestingly, more persuasive than a rapid – fire response.
- Do not be overwhelmed if you do not have any ideas by the time you are handed in the papers. As you speak, let the ideas develop. Speaking takes place in a gradual, successive manner.
- Retain the conversation natural; listen actively to your fellow-speaker, take the ground only after they have completed their deliverance.
- Feel comfortable with pauses and silence.
- Take the clues the interlocutors provide: Staring, goggling, crossing arms, leaning backwards-all those clues might be silent indicators of objection, resistance or misunderstanding: Flow with those valuable elements and provide the ground for any opinion to be expressed.
- Let the physical clues of your fellow-candidate guide the procedure.
- Be engaged: to your interlocutors, to your topic and your output.
- Prioritize structure: every piece of speech should have an introduction-a development and a recapitulation.
- Be open, honest and transparent. Be ready to admit that something is beyond your knowledge or that the argument you are developing might have a different reading-and still be equally right and legitimate.
- When encountered with unfamiliar language, ask for clarification. Asking will not harm the outcome-at least as it would, had you developed a transgressed conversation.
- Be the master of your language-not the opposite. Leverage appropriate vocabulary to the development of your output. Words and formulae exist to serve a communicative purposes. Speech is persuasive and alluring when it is spontaneous, genuine. Do not be a servant of loquaciousness.
- When communicating in a foreign language, we tend to become self-conscious. Compromise with the fact that some errors / mistakes are bound to arise, fully trusting your knowledge and perception enough to redress or correct them.
- Use language directly and monitor your speech speed. Adjust whenever you sense you are becoming unintelligible.
- Articulate. When communicating in a foreign language, self-consciousness might drive us into mumbling the words, instead of enunciating them. Own your words and make sure they come across clearly and confidently. This can be achieved by monitoring the pace of your speaking. Breath in, breath out.
- Do not stress over your accent. We are not native speakers of the foreign language, and this is not to be penalized. Do not anglicize your accent. Accent is not assessed in any legitimate language examination. Your pronunciation and word parsing are assessed though, so those are the elements your focus should be directed.
- Retain the problem-solving conversation to reasonable thinking. Bear in mind that persuasion is not the goal. Effective dialogue, meaningful and natural speech deliverance are, though.
- Substantiate your argument. Examples and cases to the support of our opinion surround us-this is how opinions are shaped. Look around and use the abundant examples that prove the case under discussion, for instance: “Politeness can open unexpected doors, which is the reason it is essential to be kind. As a matter of fact, this morning, the exams supervisor let me into the exam room five minutes earlier, and I am inclined to ascribe this favor to my courtesy”….
- Retain the level throughout the examination. Do not rack your brains for specific words right from the start-the appropriate ones are those that will pop up as the conversation escalates.
Marina Siskos / English Teacher