Communication and the Arts

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - A superior product - but with features poorly communicated to buyers fails in the marketplace. Two vice presidents aiming for the SVP position - all things equal, the better communicator gets the plum title. Communication is everything.We heard Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon was a firebrand speaker like the American president Ronald Reagan who is also often referred to as "The Great Communicator" who made the bad look good and the good, better.In our lifetimes -part of President Ferdinand Marcos appeal was a rich, baritone voice which he used in presenting an image of a manly, robust strongman. President GMA had a grating, somewhat irritating voice which vastly improved towards the second half of her presidency. No doubt, voice experts were used.Even in the midst of a blistering growth in other forms of communication especially in the field of mobile (text) phones and the information highway (Internet), our world is still of the "spoken word." Notice how we speak much more than we do write to others. And good communication equals to good relationships.So strong was our belief in effective oral communication that we have been a member of the Toastmasters Club -an international organization dedicated to the promotion of superb "spoken communication" - for over 20 years.Asked why we joined Toastmasters, we quipped facetiously ,of course, "I joined Toastmasters because we cannot rely on good looks all the time." Laughter, of course.Communication, in fact is made up of (30%)verbal or words and the rest (70%) is non verbal. The non-verbal includes: Voice tone, pauses we make, facial and body language during delivery and of course, the over-all packaging of the personality.Voice tone is very important - notice how telephone operators are trained to greet callers as though they were long lost lovers? Just to stress our point.Notice how the phrase: "Where have you been" can have entirely different meanings based on the tonality of the voice: it can be agitated, missing mood and matter -of-fact questioning.Sing the song "Free Again" -and imagine oneself two ways: happy (at last) at being liberated or at being set free sadly into one's desolate isolation. Tonality makes the difference. Or one cannot greet an acquaintance "Please to meet you" and have a limp grip in one's hand and a sour face to boot.Our Lord Jesus Christ, speaking over seven mountains, must have such a powerful voice; as did Adolf Hitler had when he harangued the German people and Nazi officers into submission.So important is communication that we heard that in the Harvard Medical School, a new definitive subject on "Effective Communications" is required to all medical students.It does not just involve emphasis on the importance of clarity in "laymanizing" medical terms, speaking to hospital and foundation officials but also the training in the use of the proper words, body language and compassionate gestures, say, in announcing an incurable illness or an impending death to patients and their relatives alike. …