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December 25, 2012 / glennlim thots

Public Speaking – “3 proven strategies to improve your language proficiency”

ImageWhen I first started out as a speaker, my command of the English Language was below average, I had poor pronunciation, I would stammer, and I had a bad habit of pause-filling. So how does one improve his command of the spoken language? I can summarise my own developmental experience to 3 key strategies, using the RWS acronym, which also explains the Resorts World Sentosa logo above (I understand this logo is meaningful only to local Singaporeans). I hope we can embed this image into our psyche as we learn the RWS Strategy…

1) READ

The adage ‘Garbage in garbage out’ is so true! What u take in, u give out. If you want to give out good language, take in good language, by reading good literature!…

NOTE: Reading is NOT akin to Hearing. We tend to relegate rigorous study to a passive activity. Eg) sit in front of TV, attend seminars, watch youtube etc. This does not develop your linguistic faculties, rather, it diminishes it! Real reading is immersing yourself in Literature. It is a rigorous exercise. Becos of 21C technology, our brains are atrophying for lack of exercise & use. Like a muscle wasting away, we have stopped exercising it thru rigorous activities like reading. Reading compels our brain to move beyond being tickled by entertainment, into more intensive brain usage like analysis, comprehension & interpretation. Reading conditions our brains to assimilate new knowledge, and also synthesise information for retention. It is a storehouse of knowledge for future recall. Reading helps keep our minds fit. When was the last time you had a good read? Have you left a book on a shelf somewhere?…Carve out time each week, take a break, read a book…and see yourself expand your linguistic vocabulary today!

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2) WRITE

There is a wide body of evidence out there stating the benefits of journaling and writing. Leonardo Da Vinci was able to assimilate his daily experiences into writing and drawing. And out of those reflective moments came about his designs for modern day inventions like the tank, parachute, space shuttle etc.

Ever felt stuck when in  a creative mood? U have an idea, but it refuses to ‘come out’ or form a comprehensible concept. Journaling helps transfer these ideas via pen & paper. It helps one to process these ideas along a logical continuum. You become more critical in your thinking, sharper in your reasoning, more analytical, more analogical,  more articulate…

You also begin to develop self-awareness through consistent writing. A reflective person who takes stock of his daily events & interactions is able to evaluate himself more objectively, more accurately. Self development & growth occurs as a result. He is able to identify his strengths, tap into his internal resources, and improve himself…So, get a blank book today and start journaling your weekly reflections!

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3) SPEAK

This is where the rubber hits the road. You start applying theory to practice. Research has discovered that when one transfers head knowledge to life applications, growth spurts occur. The new ‘language’ one has read & written now finds an outlet of verbal expression. You begin to piece the phrases, string the sentences, structure the theme. You also begin to add vocal devices like tone, vocal variety, rhythm, pacing, enunciation. Your language now takes new linguistic heights and form!

So, go find opportunities to gain speaking experience. Whenever possible, volunteer yourself to share, present, or lead groups by doing public speaking. Start visiting and participating in interest clubs like Toastmasters. You will witness yourself grow and master your spoken language!

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At Resorts World Sentosa, I learnt some principles that may prove useful for us as we apply the 3 strategies…

RWS is an Intergrated Resort, combining the best in entertainment, show production, theme parks, leisure, gaming, gambling and other attractions. Each component rides on the success of the other, culminating into an intergrated whole…Our efforts to raise language competency must also adopt an integrated approach. We can’t use one strategy independently. Each component must interconnect, intersect, interface with the other parts to bring about a total learning experience.

Here’s to the better linguist in you for the new year!…Glenn Lim

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