Lin Yutang on the Art of Speaking
When a man reaches a certain age, being funny is the highest compliment he can receive.
Lin Yutang was reckoned as one of the truly amusing men of his time. “Life is just a life. Do and cherish what you have at the moment.” This famous line was originated from the old gentleman Lin, who received his master’s degree at Harvard University and a doctorate at Leipzig University.
Scholars like Lin are more likely to dwell on all living beings and the world, focusing on routines and uncertainty, as well as common people and their subtleties. For instance, Lin observed how ordinary people spoke in their daily life, and wrote a book entitled TheArtof
Speaking . Based on his Chinese and foreign experiences, Lin highlighted some important tips for speaking.
Manners of Speaking
The first principle is to be sincere in speaking. Confucius stressed that speaking must be supremely honest to thrill the listeners. Aristotle’s rhetoric of persuasion involved three elements: credibility, logic, and emotion— and credibility ranks first. The second is to be refined and polite. A drop of honey can catch more flies than a gallon of venom can kill. The third is that we should respect and treat others with equality. It’s no good to have a long face, or to grin cheekily in speaking. The former is not lovely while the latter is not respectable.
Strategies of Speaking
The key point in speaking involves the word “Yes” being given priority. That is, to say “Yes” more, and to praise and approve of others more. It is more reasonable to embrace the common ground first and then to express differences, contradictions, conflicts, and debates. In brief, it is more important to seek common grounds before discussing differences. In order to verify it, Lin offered the following five suggestions:
First, everyone has dignity, so we should learn to keep other’s dignity and face. Second, most quarrelsome guys are fools. Third, criticism and rebuke can only invite resistance. Fourth, your seemingly cleverness will arouse others’ stubbornness— triggering indifference, frustration, and even self- abandonment. Lastly, “yes” is favored not to please and flatter someone, but to live by reality and truth.
With the booming of communication sciences, reality and truth in today’s world co-