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Speaking ritual
Speaking taboo


Speaking ritual
  1. A person who speaks with a sincere and elegant attitude would make others feel his seriousness and warmth.
  2. Use humble and respectful words to show good mannerism and avoid misunderstanding of good intentions.
  3. There are many elegant words in ancient Chinese language, and their usage can make plain words sound more polite.  One should respect oneself and others.
  4. “Do not talk while eating” is a good principle.  It is impolite to eat and talk at the same time, as saliva and food pieces would fly around.  This would be worse for the elderly as it would cause choking and worries to others.  The primary principle is to swallow the food first before talking.
  5. Talk less and listen more during conversations.  This would increase interaction with one another, enable one to better grasp the listener’s response to topics discussed, and facilitate further understanding and adaptation.
  6. Know what can and cannot be said.  For example, avoid taboos amongst friends.  If this must be said, one should be euphemistic or apologetic.
  7. If one wants to teach a lesson to the younger generation, use stories or parables to make the atmosphere relaxed and interesting.  This also helps the younger generation to understand and remember the lessons learnt.
  8. Consider the occasion and the relationship with others while criticizing.  If in public and the relationship with the other party is not close, it is inappropriate to criticize directly.   One should say: “My personal opinion is …”, “Maybe you can listen to …”, “This is just my opinion…”.  There are different angles to everything, and one may not know everything no matter how learned one may be.  Save faces for oneself and others.
  9. Note the distance with others while talking.  Keeping a distance will make people mistakenly think that one does not want to get close with them, and being too close will cause saliva to be spilled onto others’ faces.  One should understand the appropriate distance for socializing.
  10. Chinese people are used to behaving modestly and humbly in public, but overdoing this might create a negative effect and awkward atmosphere as others might feel that one is insincere.  At times, it may be appropriate to accept others’ praise by saying, “thank you” or “thank you for your appreciation”, and followed by a conversation on the related topic.  This would create a harmonious atmosphere.
  11. Practise more and make one’s voice pleasant and enjoyable, so that people would enjoy talking to.
(Reference page:  One reading)

Speaking taboo
  1. Do not use professional jargons too often which can be understood only within one’s profession.  Unless the audience is all from a particular profession, be considerate and use common language which can be understood by all.
  2. Unless one is unsure where the facts come from, avoid saying “I heard that…”, “Some said that…”, “It seems like…” etc.  This will make people feel that one is not confident or is insincere by talking about some hearsay.
  3. Avoid using pet phrases such as “Do you know what I mean?”, “You know?”, “Basically”, “In principle”, “Honestly,” as this will reduce interest in one’s topic and create a negative impression on others.
  4. When talking to someone new, do not start by asking about his age, income, the value of his personal belongings, marital status, religious beliefs, property owned, etc.  It is impolite to enquire about such information, and others might doubt one’s intention.
  5. Do not just complain about monetary, health and family problems and show no interest in other people’s problems.
  6. Do not make too many gestures while talking.  This would distract others and make it difficult for them to focus on the conversation.
  7. Do not adopt a pompous tone or over-react.
  8. Do not keep talking when there should be silence.
  9. Do not interrupt others.
  10. Do not join conversation about the intimate relationship with someone’s better half as this would cause embarrassment.
  11. Do not pretend to know things which one doesn’t.
  12. Do not steal the leading role of the host.
  13. Do not look at the mobile or watch during conversations.
Reference page: Taiwan word, one reading