Freedom of speech: A beautiful myth in life and politics


FREEDOM of speech is a beautiful myth in life and politics.
Follow it and you are ruined.
The simple rules in communication or public speaking are: Rule your tongue. Think before you speak.
Know your subject well.
Or research on it before you speak.
Never touch a subject you know nothing about.
Somebody who knows about it will have a joke at your expense.
So, don’t take chances.
Think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it before you say it.
Otherwise you will be regarded as a fool who talks nonsense.
Also, know your audience well.
Never take them for granted.
Find out what their feelings and attitudes are towards you before you confront them with your speech.
Don’t wait to find out after you have delivered your speech.
It will be too late.
Some people’s feelings would have already been hurt and their trust in you shaken.
Decide on the appropriate language you are going to address your audience in and the manner in which you are going to address them so that nobody will misunderstand you or find room to misinterpret your message to them.
Never speak in tongues or above your audience’s head.
Choose the idiom and expressions they are familiar with and understand.
Jesus used parables that his audience understood and that we also enjoy today. Chinua Achebe uses proverbs that the Ibo and African people understand and enjoy.
He refers to them as the palm wine with which words are eaten.
Therefore, be careful not to make blunders of using grammar and styles of expression that your audience do not understand and you yourself cannot handle because there may be people among the audience who know and may laugh at you and your ego will be hurt and your stature gravely diminished.
So, always discipline your tongue and never give it free rein even at the behest of the alluring freedom of speech.
If you don’t bridle your tongue, and you let it wag freely in the cave of your mouth, it will betray things you harbour in your heart that you did not want the public to know and you will be exposed and left in shame!
The people will say, “The Emperor has no clothes!”
There is the story of a chief who once sent his servant to bring him the best meat from the market.
The servant brought him a tongue.
The next day the chief sent the servant to bring him the worst meat from the market.
The servant brought a tongue, again.
“What?” the chief asked.
“When I send you to bring the best meat, you bring a tongue and then you bring the same thing for the worst meat.”
The servant answered, “Sometimes a man is very unhappy because of his tongue. “And sometimes his tongue makes him very happy.”
“You are right,” the chief agreed.
“Let us be masters of our tongue!”
Some people are adept in using their tongues to provoke others or diminish their status.
So, be careful how you use your own tongue in reacting to deliberate provocations and distortions of your worth.
This is usually the case with interviews in life or in politics.
So be always on top in the mastery of your tongue and enjoy the last laugh.
Once, there lived an old woman.
She had two donkeys.
Every morning she went with them down the street to the fields.
One morning two young men saw her with her donkeys and shouted, “Good morning, Mother of donkeys!”
The old woman smiled at them and answered, “Good morning, My Sons,” and made an ass out of them!
Let us be masters of our tongues!


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