Thursday, 10 December 2015

A guide to CC4 (How to Say It):

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While the objectives of CC4 are plain when laid out, as I had sat to draft my speech, it set me wondering as to how we have really left behind such basic concepts of High School Grammar lessons. So, as an annexure to my CC4 speech ( which is HERE) I am also presenting an elaborate discussion on the crux of CC4 - the refresher that we much need to give an edge to our day to day communication skills. To keep the discussion strung to a theme, I've used examples in shape of telling a story along the theme of Diwali in India.

Without much ado, let's dive into it!

“How to say it!”   

A very Good Morning, dear Toastmasters and Guests!

Silence is Golden! But here, unfortunately – “It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away!”

Strange are the ways in which you can play with words. An English professor wrote on the board: A woman without her man is nothing. He asked the class to punctuate the sentence.
Some wrote: "A woman, without her man, is nothing."

While some of them wrote: "A woman: without her, man is nothing."

The purpose of my speech today is to give you a brief and quick refresher of literary styles that you can use in your communication. These styles were very much part of our mid-school grammar book. In that light, this fourth project of the CC journey is pretty nostalgic.

Talking of light, last week was Diwali, the festival of lights! Let us see how we can use this opportunity to throw some light on what we all know and yet keep forgetting - the art of “how to say it!”

They often say: “the pen is mightier than the sword.” However, if pen is your tool, “how to say it” – is your skill. Without an effective skill in place, even the choicest of the words would fall flat to convey its meaning and reach its desired objective. The art and style of communication, really, decides the effect and the impact of words that you can choose and use.

On one hand, your speech should use good, simple, easy-to-follow language. Like: Last week, I sat down to write my Toastmasters script. I wondered where to begin. I kept thinking about what to write! I could not make up my mind. Outside my window, the crackers were bursting. Inside, time was running out. I could not get anywhere. I was lost and worried. I was also very tempted to leave all these behind and join the celebrations.

And then, on the other hand, the speech should also use rhetorical devices. Now, what exactly are rhetorical devices? Rhetorical devices are special ways of arranging words to make an idea or a thought sound more pleasing and easier for listeners to remember.

Let me give you some examples.

Number 1 – Similes!

A simile is a comparison that uses words "like" or "as". For example: Outside, the infinite flames of the crackers looked like a fountain of water. Inside, I was still lost as a needle in a stack of hay! I was as worried as a student on the night before the exams!

Number 2 – Metaphors!

A metaphor is "a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable". Example? Though I was lost and worried, the fire of Toastmaster deadline burnt in me. However, writing a non-fiction speech was not easy; I felt like a fish out of water! Outside, the rows of fairy lights on the balcony were magically transforming the scene from reality into a dream. The evening was dressing up like a new bride and it walked in brightness and glory. I started to feel home-sick like a little girl at the hostel.
Trivia! All similes are metaphors, but not all metaphors are similes. Oh yes, the alkali and the Base thing.

Before I get too carried away, here is more of what we are discussing: Rhetorical devices!!

Number 3 - Alliterations! 

In alliteration, the initial sounds in words (or in stressed syllables within the words) are repeated in a pleasing or memorable manner.

Since I could not go to my hometown for Diwali, I was feeling dejected and down. I got up and lit the lamps in my balcony. The little lights cheered me up. I wanted to write a brand new blogpost, and I thought I’d name it – Diwali in Delhi!

Number 4 – Triads. In this, ideas, objectives and points are grouped in threes!

So, I was all set to write a new post on my blog – Poems, Prayers and Promises. Yes, that’s really the name of my blog.  Meanwhile, the sound, smell and sight of bursting crackers were taking over my senses. I had to finally give away to the temptation. The chaos and the cacophony of the celebrations are to die for!

However, let me not get all caught up in the frenzy for ornamental language. Let me also keep an eye to keep it simple, short and sweet.

Why? Well, think about this. While millions and billions of books that are being written at every corner of the world at every passing moment, one of the most famous lines that was ever written in the history of English Literature is one of six simple, small, mono- syllable words that Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: “To do, or not to do!”

I hope for my fellow Toastmasters who are yet to deliver their CC4, this article was useful for you. Here’s to the simplicity in our words and actions. Good Day!

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