How about kicking off our blog with the definition of a powerful force that has not yet been given an official name?
Speechiolotis is the situation in which half the audience is praying for the speech to end whilst the other half has already fallen sleep. If you have ever addressed an audience you may have at some time caused speechiolotis.
How many times have you heard these second most beautiful words in a speech: ‘I don’t have much to say?’ You sit back, smile and wait for a quick dash to freedom. Alas, the speaker proceeds to drone on and on. Finally, when all hope is lost the speaker utters the most beautiful words, ‘with these few words, I now conclude.’
What’s the cause of this force that’s now as widespread as the effects of climate change?
Research has shown that three overlapping factors are the major causes of speechiolotis: love of the sound of one’s voice, passion for a certain view and lastly, the time stoppage complex.
Love of the sound of one’s voice
Icelanders have a proverb – Every man likes the smell of his own farts. In other words, humans have a natural tendency to like and be comfortable with what is theirs. The expression – love of the sound of one’s voice – is an acknowledgement of the existence of this natural tendency. This love propels speakers not to stop talking. Chocolate lovers will tell you how difficult it is to stop eating that delicacy once they have started. So it is with the sound of one’s voice. Smitten speakers just can’t get enough of the chocolate coming out of their mouths.
Further, own voice lovers believe that audiences are also in love with their voices. They feel the entire audience enjoying with them. Whatever time set for their speeches becomes an enemy of the gathering.
Passion for a certain view
Every once in a while some humans get to believe a certain viewpoint or ideology. They see all competing viewpoints as wrong or even a danger to society. These believers see it as their mission to convince the rest to their viewpoint. When they get an opportunity to speak the believers can’t stop talking until every listener announces that he or she has been won over.
For instance, an elderly man may get convinced that all current problems are caused by the new law that permits an eighteen year old girl to marry without her father’s consent. Such a man constantly longs for an opportunity to warn everyone that this law is destroying the very fabric of society. Give that man a platform to talk about weather; he will rephrase it so that he talks about his belief. He won’t stop talking until the audience agrees to reverse this harmful law.
Time Stoppage Complex
Albeit Einstein is quoted explaining relativity as follows: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” Time stoppage complex can be explained in a similar manner. For some, time stops the moment they start on their favourite topics. Time starts ticking after they finish talking. It is therefore not unusual for such people to urge all who speak after them to be brief.
Whoever will discover the cure for speechiolotis will in my book be a strong candidate for the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
Friends, enough of this heavy stuff! I believe it is now time we rested our brains by enjoying a fable. One of my favourites is that of The Lion and the Impala.
Lion was so old that he could no longer hunt. Hungry and weak, he often lay in his cave watching animals go by. One day a young impala passed by. Lion invited her for a chat.
‘Sure, old timer,’ Impala said, trotting along the path leading to Lion’s cave. Lion smiled and just held back licking his lips.
Impala stopped at the cave’s entrance looking down and then back.
‘What’s the matter dear,’ Lion asked.
‘I see several sets of footprints going in.’
‘Oh yes, I’ve lots of friends,’ Lion said.
‘Aah,’ Impala said, shaking her head from side to side, ‘but I don’t see the footprints of your friends coming out. What happened to them?’ Lion mumbled and Impala insisted that she wanted an answer before going in.
Receiving no answer, Impala galloped away.
Back to curing Speechiolotis
Aah, therein lays the cure of speechiolotis. Like Impala, we must study our situation and surroundings and then act.
A friend once told me how he and his mates dealt with a Councillor who loved making long speeches. Whenever they wanted the Councillor to make a thirty minutes speech they would say, ‘Councillor, you have five minutes, to give your entire speech. Please stick to that, we are pressed for time.’ The Councillor was a reasonable man. He would cut his planned speech to just thirty minutes.
Sometimes a more direct approach is called for. I once addressed a meeting in which I went a minute over my time.
‘By the way,’ an attendee interrupted, ‘when is the meeting supposed to end?’ Just as Impala, audiences must be observant and look after their interests. They must remind speakers when time is up.
I suppose bloggers too must not go on and on. Cheers!