This article begins with the first of the eight multiple intelligences on being a WORD smart person. Words are the most important ingredient in a language. It helps us communicate, converse and convey an array of emotions. This is also the most common intelligence which all of us have in some measure or another. The article shows practical steps on being a better linguist learner.
Ever since the dawn of civilization, the human had a need for communication. The most distinguishing characteristics that separates us from the animal kingdom is the “power of speech.” Attesting to this fact is Surah Ar – Rahman. When Allah spoke about his mercy on us, one of the first messages in the surah was the power of the tongue (Lisan in Arabic). Allah says He gave man the power of BAYAN – literally speech.
What does it mean to be a good communicator?
A word smart is a person who love words who loves reading, writing, speaking, playing with words or thinking. Everyone is essentially word smart at some level or another. You are thus WORD SMART whether you realize it or not. When you talk to your family, write an e-mail and read a novel, you are being WORD SMART.
Atlas of the language
Every community has had a language, a means to convey the message and emotions, which are essentially nothing but words. According to the encyclopedia ‘Atlas of the language,’ there has been no language-less community ever found in the world. The same encyclopedia lists 6800 languages existing in the world. This is a testimony to the need for good communication skills. When you speak, you convey your emotions. Today, ‘soft skills’ are the most sought after skills in any business, institution or career.
Here is a quick question before you read any further. Let us know what are the top 6 languages in the world?
- Chinese (Mandarin)
You need to know a minimum of 3 international language to be accepted as United Nation Secretary of State. If you are to roam the word and aim high in life, language would open far more doors of opportunities. Begin to learn a new language today!
Think about how often you use speech throughout your day. You talk to your friends at school, you answer questions from your teacher, speak to argue with your brother or sister about all sorts of things or you speak to teach your friends about geography problems.
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. (Surah Nahl, 16:125)
Another great asset for being a WORD SMART person is story telling. Storytelling for mass communication has been used in essentially every tribe of the world. People forget statistics but remember stories. Qur’an has stories to convey its message. Remember, although the Qur’an is full of stories, it is not storybook. It is a book of Ayah or signs. Story telling is very powerful tool.
Take the example the story of Prophet Yusuf . It has all the ingredients of a blockbuster. It has it in the story of separation of a young boy from his father. The story talks about dreams of the Prophet, king and prisoners. The young boy Yusuf goes to jail and finally reaches a very high position in a land of civilization – Egypt. It has emotions from jealousy, envy, pride, lust to greed. This is what a good story can do to us.
Being word smart is an essential survival skill needed in today’s classrooms. Public speaking books mention that death is world’s number two fear, with public speaking as a distant first.
BECOME A BETTER SPEAKER
Here are 5 steps to help you become a better Story Teller or a Public Speaker:
- Try to listen to what everyone else is saying in the class;
- Try speaking a little more everyday than what you did the previous day;
- Do not worry about being judged or what everyone will say;
- Remember to breathe. It may sound obvious but breathing helps to calm you down;
- Speak clearly and slowly;
- Practice in front of a good friend or parent who can give positive feedback;
- Focus on delivering a competent, confident and truthful message;
- Finally, remember that the message is always more important than the messenger.
WORD SMART: Companion
There are numerous example of great speeches and eloquence of the Sahabas (companions of the Messenger of Allah ). Among these, the speech delivered by Ja‘far bin AbiTalib to the Christian king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in the 7th century to date is referenced to as one of the most succinct and eloquent speeches that captured the moments of that era, and expressed the message of Islam concisely and clearly.
It is quite obvious from the speech that it has stood the test of time and delivers the message of Islam today just as effectively as it did more than 1400 years ago. The speech has a great opening. It begins with a problem statement. It highlights the reason for what is to be followed. In the second part, Jafir first establishes the ‘credibility’ of the Prophet . “Allah raised among us a man, of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware…”
The speech was clearly ‘creating a mental picture’: One of evil, lawless, selfish society versus an upright, morally sound and respectful community. Despite the great depth, the speech was never complex. The high point is its simplicity. A king who had never heard of Islam was able to relate to the context.
IDEAS to be WORD SMART:
- Maintain a journal or blog posting. A lot of blogs have gone on to become great book and best sellers!
- Read about what interests you. If you like cars, read about Auto Car magazine, visit showrooms, read the manual and marketing brochures. This way, you will develop an interest in reading through your passion.
- Join a library. This is easier said than done but with a healthy friend circle, visit to local bookstore or library can be fun. As a parent or teacher, you can organize a book treasure hunt!
- Make an important book list. Like an all-time best book on animals or self-help or SEERAH (Biography of the noble Prophet). (If you want a book list like those mentioned above – you can email the author of this article).
- Play with words. Invest time and money in a board game like SCRABBLE, Apples to Apples, Hangman, Anagrams, Boggle etc.
- Remember, each person is WORD smart in some way
- Reading is by far the most effective way to increase your linguist ability
- Story telling is a powerful tool to convey your ideas
- Implement the ideas from blogs, library and board games to be a word smart learner.
We will continue our series of the learner profiles from the multiple intelligence group. The next learner would be PICTURE smart. If you like colors, can recognize patterns or doodling, the article will help augment your skills. But, if you are far away from the pictorial world, do not despair. The article will also focus on basic essentials that would help you understand the picture smart learner and improve your skill set.