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The Art of Diplomacy in Speech

by Valentine Ogbamebor

The ability to communicate in a manner conforming to the desired style in international relations through appropriate language choices is termed Diplomacy. It is a skill in handling affairs without arousing hostility. Those involved in this line of work are called Diplomats. A diplomat is a representative of the government who intercedes on behalf of his/her country in dealings with other nations. He/she seeks to maintain international relations as it pertains to peace, war, trade, economics, human rights, environment etc. He/she seeks to establish common grounds with his colleagues locally and internationally. He/she tries to understand the differences around him so he could find the commonalities that exist within them.

Diplomacy is an important skill centered on an understanding of other people and being sensitive to their opinions, beliefs, ideas, and feelings and can aid effective communication, especially during negotiation and when attempting to be persuasive or assertive. The appropriate use of this skill can lead to improved relationships with other people and is a way to build and develop mutual respect hence leading to more successful outcomes and less difficult or stressful communications.

Communicating effectively through speech is an important part of diplomacy. This is an art because it involves the careful choice of words. It is important to carefully evaluate a situation before speaking, seeing that intentions may be good but your words might be hurtful. Practice before approaching someone for a serious discussion. Know your audience and determine the most effective way of communication before delivering a message to avoid misunderstandings. When in discussion, be confident with your words but not aggressive, be careful to make suggestions instead of telling people what to do, wait your turn to speak and never interrupt others, keep your voice at a neutral level, acknowledge your ignorance, control your emotions with offensive counterparts, always maintain eye contact.

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Though diplomacy can be difficult in certain situations, you can remain poised by being tactful, mitigating difficult situations, and building relationships with others.

Diplomatic speeches have proved over the years to arouse a range of feelings and actions in people. In 2004, Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in support of Senator John Kerry for President of the United States, made the case for disregarding partisan differences and bringing Americans together. Following decades of authoritarian state control, poet and playwright, Vaclav Navel gave voice to the new wave of liberty that was sweeping through Eastern Europe by calling on citizens to build a “republic economically prosperous and yet socially just”. Clinton gave an address at the memorial service for the victims of the Federal building bombing in Oklahoma City that reassured the affected friends and families. “You have lost too much, but you have not lost everything. And you have certainly not lost America, for we will stand with you for as many tomorrows as it takes”; now that’s the Art of Diplomacy in Speech.

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