MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “speech”

Say nothing grandmother had told him when he was young that “when you don’t know what to say, it is better to say nothing at all”. The same is true when you having nothing to say. You shouldn’t speak for the sake of saying something. That’s just noise.

So he grew up being laconic with his speech. He wanted every word he uttered to count. The people around him often thought he was too introvert; didn’t open up too much. Others saw his silence as apathy or ignorance.

But often it is in the silence that most is said.

He knew the value of placing quality over quantity. And much of that was valid for speech too. He disliked people who would talk for hours about nothing simply to maintain attention drawn onto them. Instead he relished the moments when he would retreat from the world and gaze at it passing by without having to say a word.

It is in those moments that you find yourself. That you realise what you need, what you want, and sometimes what makes you tired or happy.

It is those moments that make you grateful for all you have and for simply being alive.

And it is right after that moment when you don’t know what to say, that your mind is flushed with all the things you wish you had said…


Also part of Daily Prompt: Sound


Don’t talk. Just listen….

unknown call– Don’t talk. Just listen. Did you see the fireworks yesterday? Yes, just after the new Prime Minister’s victory speech? It was as if the country was having one huge party. Well, I don’t blame them. I mean the guy’s just 40 years old. And he is not bad to look at either. Plus, the casual, no-tie look makes him more likeable. I think that’s one of the reasons why he won over so many people. He managed to convince them that he relates to them. He is one of them. And like he said, he wants to have a government that belongs to all the people. Well, good luck. It would be great if at least somebody managed to do so. But did you see the fireworks in the capital’s centre? It reminded me of those 4th of July fireworks. You remember then ones. That is when I met him. You know who. That bastard who broke my heart. He played me like a fiddle on the roof. You know I ran into him the other day at the supermarket? He was shopping for groceries. At least that is what he said. He looked good. Was wearing jeans and a shirt. A shirt I got for him. It felt very weird. To be honest I even forgot to buy half my shopping list after I saw him. I was so depressed by the time I got home, that I spent the entire night watching series on TV and going to bed by midnight. I know it’s pathetic, but what do I do? Come on, you know what I am talking about don’t you?

– I’m sorry, who is this?

– Becky? It’s me, Deborah.

– I’m sorry, I’m not Becky and I don’t know any Deborah.

– Oh. Well, this is embarrassing. I am so sorry.

– Not a problem. I hope everything works out. And don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It takes time. Stay strong!

– Thanks! Sorry again for this awkward call!

[Dials Again]

– Don’t talk. Just listen…


Also part of Daily Prompt: Unknown Caller

Indebted to the future

DSC05826“We live in a Europe of mistrust”. This is what European Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz stated yesterday Monday 4 November speaking at a very interesting conference in Athens. Organised by the EP Information Offices in Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain – the countries worst hit by the crisis and forced to implement austerity measures – the first of its kind international conference entitled “South for Growth” aims to address the challenges and prospects faced by the countries on the south of the European map in managing the crisis.

In a densely packed room at the Athens Concert Hall, keynote speaker Schulz uttered “it is time to come to an end with the rhetoric of crisis and start a new debate – the rhetoric of hope”. He outlined four proposals which he said are the key points in forging a strategy that will help the south exit the crisis.

Calling on personal experiences, Schulz stated that during the post-WWII period governments asked parents to make sacrifices, with the promise that this would bring a better future for their children.
“These promises were kept,” he said, noting that his generation lived a better life with unprecedented opportunities. “Europe was a promise”. But now, how can we ask parents to make all the more sacrifices, when their children are unemployed, desperate and have lost hope in their future? It is for this reason, Schulz said that youth unemployment must be the first step in promoting growth.

In a passionate and dynamic speech, the EP president stressed that it is unacceptable that the European Central Bank (ECB) maintains interest rates at such a low  figure (0.5%), but Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) do not have access to liquidity. This money is not injected into the real economy, he said, and for this we need a strategy to overcome the credit crunch and help realize the SMEs’ projects. This in turn, he added, will help with employment opportunities.

“We are not bold enough,” he stated. “Let’s dare more, be more imaginative, let’s seize the potential of the resources and geostrategy of the Mediterranean”. Greater economic cooperation in this region will lead to a stronger south and as a result to a more powerful Union.

But “for all these proposals to be realized we need to regain confidence between north and south, between citizens, politics and institutions”. Using the word “trust” over ten times, Schulz was striving to pass the message that without the trust of its people in the EU and the principles of the EU forefathers, the EU structure cannot move forward.

Himself a probable candidate for the post of European Commission President, Schulz delivered a speech that by far responded to the expectations of all those people from all over Europe, mainly young, who filled the room for this conference. It is unknown as to whether the EU officials’ persistence on immediate actions that deliver results is actually due to the campaigning that has already begun ahead of the 2014 EU elections. Because it is widely acknowledged that to stay on board, you need to have achievements to show in your favour.

“The trust of citizens cannot be gained by speeches. It can only be gained when we deliver solutions,” said Schulz with MEP Thodoros Skylakakis (ALDE) adding that “we are just talking heads…we do not realize the extent of the problems, and for that citizens don’t listen to us”.

We live in a Europe of mistrust and of debt. And as EP Vice President Anni Podimata said, “we are indebted”. Not only because of the money we owe, but because of the hope and future we promised to provide to the next generation.


Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

The Elegance of Being Eloquent

Many people know how to talk, but few how to speak. It is incredible how much information can be lost by the mere lack of the ability to say it. Indeed, to quote Ben Johnson, “to speak and to speak well, are two things”.

Politicians and diplomats are people who today are required more than ever to speak. To resolve issues peacefully through discussions and negotiations. But everyone knows all too well how many misunderstandings and how much trouble can be caused by inability to express precisely what it is you mean. And even more so, to do it clearly. And above all enunciate. Being able to speak and being able to get your message through are indeed two different things. And the ability to effectively communicate all that is necessary and nothing more; to inspire things to be done; to paint the thoughts in your mind and convey them to the audience; that is true eloquence.

In its purest form, eloquence is about passion. It lies in saying things simply but gracefully; with enthusiasm and belief; with the underlying force of persuasion. It is about being fluent not only in what you say, but in the way you say it. About convincing your audience of the authenticity and spontaneity of your thoughts. And about conveying it in such a way that your audience becomes mesmerized, gripped by your every word, and ravelled by the feelings emitted from them.

With eloquence, talking becomes not only just uttering words. It is about actually saying something. Reaching into people’s minds and imprinting them in there, so that in any random instant those words come to mind. Great orators can do that. In the popular series CSI, they usually break down the trajectory of a flying bullet into a person, depicting in precise radiography-shots how it reaches the organ it afflicts. That is exactly how eloquent speakers can direct their words straight into the brain cortex. With the precision of the most ardent craftsman.

In essence, eloquence is an art. Not everyone can do it. And it requires a mixture of talent and skill. From Mark Anthony’s famous opening line in William Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears“, to JF Kennedy to Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King to Barack Obama, eloquent speakers are an integral part of politics. And those who are mostly remembered are precisely those who knew how to address their audience. Who knew what to say, when to say it, and more importantly, how to say it. Great speakers are reminiscent of Ancient Greek orators who were able to influence and change the emotions of their listeners, not just inform them. In their time, public speaking occurred in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain listeners. Speaking happened for a reason and not simply for the sake of talking. Good orators are filled with passion for what they are saying and are able to transmit to their audience that very feeling. They are able to convince their listeners that they know what they are talking about. Even if they disagree with what the speaker is saying, if expressed well, that won’t matter. The essence is conveying an opinion and persuading people to listen and accept it, no matter how different it may be.

In current times, everyone considers himself to be a speaker. But few actually have what it takes to be characterized as an orator. Today, politicians so often appear making speeches here and there, without actually saying anything. Some cannot even read scripts placed in front of them, while others simply talk as if they are addressing customers in a shop. Politicians more than any other should be able to speak. Unfortunately though, what we so often see today is quite the contrary. They appear improper, crude, uncivilized and even uneducated. Exactly the opposite of what is expected of the representatives of the people. They should be able to address the people’s concerns, and demonstrate that they share the people’s problems. They should appear passionate about solving them and about involving the people in this process. After all they are simply representing popular will, even though many seem to forget that once in power. Instead, what we daily see are politicians disinterested in the problems of the lower straits of society and only serving the interests of the wealthy. Politicians who instead of fighting to improve the lives of their citizens, appear to only be improving their own at the expense of the citizens. And politicians who do not even have the fluency to speak in their own native language, let alone another, in order to communicate.

Eloquence is a dying art. And when – in glimpses – it appears, it is more than welcome. US President Obama is perhaps one of the most eloquent speakers of our time. He knows how to address his audience, how to use examples of their own lives, values and beliefs, in making his argument; how to draw their attention and keep it throughout a 40-minute speech. He knows what to say and what words, similes, metaphors and idioms to use to express it. It is no wonder how many thousands of people gather each time he makes a speech. Obama is an orator. And he can actually convince his listeners that he believes in what he says, that he is trying to do what he proposes, and that he will eventually accomplish all that he promises. He even has the ability to reach into people’s feelings, to touch them, and to inspire them. People often end up in tears, after his speeches. But they are all so passionate, so motivated, so inspired. And that is exactly the objective of eloquence. Of convincing, inspiring, motivating, affecting. With dignity, fervour, and grace.

If it is true that flattery won’t get you anywhere, then eloquence probably will. All you need is the courage to be able to say what you want, the fluency to express your thoughts, and the judgement to know what to say, when to say it, and to whom.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Naked with Black Socks

Also part of Daily Prompt: Elegant

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