Pause a moment. Speaking and talking is one and the same thing, right? Slightly wrong.
The other day, i was on a bus and it was passing through Nagpur Chawl area, and you pass by these really beautifully painted walls to your left, which are a part of the Yerawada prison. They have been transformed so colorfully into myriad pictures about various sights and places in Pune. When you come to the end of that long stretching wall, it says that it is part of an initiative called ‘Pune’s speaking walls’. That made me think: does speaking and talking really mean the same thing?
When languages hadn’t evolved, man communicated through sign language: facial expressions, body language and gestures. When languages evolved, he started communicating through orally said words. You could say that forms of speech had been born.
Note the above definition of speaking. It says ‘the action of conveying information or expressing one’s feelings in speech’. Now if we would use ‘talks’ in the above sentence, would it sound right? Try it. No, right. That’s because i conveyed a piece of information to you, my dear reader, about the meaning of speaking.
Note the above definition of talking. It reads ‘engaging in speech’. It does not talk about conveying any information. Now, if i would use ‘say’ in the above sentence in place of ‘talk’, it would sound right to some extent. That means talking is a narrow concept while speaking includes much more than just talking.
So we understand that talking means opening your mouth and uttering words to another person. It may be anything, you may not have anything important to say. You just want to talk. Speaking means to convey something specific to someone, and it makes the person think and opine upon the subject. It also means expressing your feelings to another person. In that regard, speaking becomes more informal and shows closeness as you’ll share your feelings only with someone who is close to you. Talking need not show closeness. You can talk about the weather with your acquaintance. That’s why it’s called making small talk. It may be mindless gossip, for that matter.
However, this does not work in a formal setting. You say to your boss, “May i speak to you about ____?”, not “May i talk to you?” Because your boss is not sitting idle to talk to you. But yes, if you need to speak about something, he/she is there for you. Thus, the roles are reversed.
‘Pictures speak louder than words’. They communicate with us, not in words. They can’t talk. But they make us appreciate the beauty of art. They say a lot without talking.
Remember your school teacher always used to tell you, “Talk softly”, when you were probably talking in a very high tone. It was because you were probably talking random stuff and not speaking about your school subjects.
What do we mean by ‘Actions speak louder than words.’? It means that actions communicate to us about a person’s character, morals and upbringing. Words can be deceiving. But non-verbal communication never lies. You think and interpret a person based on his actions.
Let your personality speak about you through your actions. Don’t talk ten to the dozen for lack of better things to do. Whenever you feel like communicating, think whether you want to indulge in aimless talk or want to speak to people. Talk for speaking. Talk less, speak more.