Two Ingredients to Successfully Master a Language
Tried Deconstructed Burgers? Now Try Deconstructed Conversations!
When you smile, you don’t realise just how many muscles in the body come together to produce that smile. Just like that, when we speak at a mile a minute, we don’t realise just how much the brain works to produce that perfect sentence. Today, take a few minutes to deconstruct that.
Our mastery of language, as we know it, depends on two primary factors:
This is the bit that most of us think we have difficulty in mastering. Those countless hours spent struggling to understand cases, tenses, voices, phrases and clauses, and yet they often elude us when we need them. Trust me, for some of us, the Wren and Martins are just as scary as those monstrous Math textbooks. Fear aside, my point being that the mechanics of language (grammar, spelling and syntax) form the skeleton of the written language. These help us put our ideas into a tangible thought through simple or complex sentences. The ‘correctness’ of these is elementary, especially in the written form as you may not be able to use any other verbal or cultural cues to further elaborate your point.
If you’ve followed us so far, you are clearly equipped with the basic language mechanics that help you read and write fairly well. However, what holds us back, contrary to popular belief, is not grammatical skills or a poor vocabulary, but the second element of language- effective communication strategy. When we find the right impact that we wish to get across, the right vocabulary usage comes to you even more easily than you’d imagine. Communication strategy is a combination of skillful listening, awareness, and appropriate language use to thus clearly explain what you so passionately wish to say. Listening to the other person, not just hearing them, will help with enough social and linguistic clues to help with this. It is the ability to use your language in a way that you can move closer to your desired outcome.
Think of the burgers again. If you have to order food at a restaurant, you look at the menu and then begin ordering, right? The menu is where you find your cues. Communication strategy works in the same way.
For example, if you have to sell a product to a certain buyer just by speaking to them, where would you begin?
A. Listen to them. The more you know about the person you’re persuading – her personality, values, general profile, way of communicating, etc. – the better you can tailor your conversation to get closer to persuading her.
B. Think through the best convincing arguments. This is strategy. Even if you think in a regional language, and translate it into English before uttering it, using the right communication strategy is a huge advantage for you.
C. Put the language you know to use. Now, figure out which part of the conversation you want to pursue, and introduce your point from there onwards. You need a variety of sentences and words for this, but if the direction of your approach is clear, your words and ideas will flow smoother.
With LeapOn, we aim to help polish this latter element, which in turn will bring enough systematic practice, and hence automatically improve the mechanics of your language too. Start today, and let the game take over all your worries about communicating effectively!