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How to Speak When in a Hurry


I went to "Information" in the Grand Central station the other day to ask about trains. I was so interested in the way the clerks talked that I let a dozen people crowd in ahead of me.

All were in a hurry. Hot-faced, breathless, nervous— they made the air electric.

There were the clerks—active, intelligent, quick, but not the least bit hurried in voice or manner. And yet they were satisfying everyone, And Doing It Quickly!

My friend Murray sits at a desk and hurries all day long. He does an immense amount of clerical work, and he has to'do it on time. He is interrupted constantly, and he works in a room where everyone hurries.

Yet he always speaks quietly and calmly, with a smile. That is how he hurries—apparently by not hurrying.

Another man I know is a comical sv,jht when he hurries. He looks this way and that, turns around, rushes here and there, runs his hands through a stack of papers, stutters, breaks his sentences, repeats, and gets almost nowhere.

The object of hurry is to get something done quickly.

If your hurry makes you speak quickly, it has the advantage of you. Your nerves have given way. Because your nerves give way you stammer or stutter. For the same reason you break your sentences, and leave unsaid things that should be said, and undone things that should be done.

In any great crisis the man who is really quick and efficient is the man who does not speak with apparent hurry.

The next time you have to speak in a hurry, speak slowly. You can say all you need to by speaking slowly.

You will remember to say all that should be said, and you will make a good impression.

Be prompt, be efficient, like "Information" at Grand Central, but speak calmly.

You will then accomplish as much as "Information" does, and do it with pleasure to yourself and ethers.

1. Avoid all appearances of hurry.

2. Be prompt.

3. Speak slowly.

4. Speak calmly.

PROBLEM. Imagine that you are hurrying for a train that you have just time enough to catch. A clerk follows you to ask for directions how to act on an important complaint that has just been received. How will you reply?


How to Talk When Interrupted


Here is a situation that I am sure you. have met.

For a long time you have tried to obtain an interview with a person of importance. At last you have succeeded in reaching him.

You have hardly begun to talk before he is called to the telephone. You begin again, and a clerk brings him papers to sign. You go on, and there is another telephone call. Finally, before you have finished what you have to say, he is called away by a much more important visitor. Your interview is ended, and you go away disgruntled, without having accomplished what you wished.

Is there any way of talking so as to overcome this emergency?

It might seem that there is no way. There is a way, however.

Here it is.

Try to make an appointment at a time when there are likely to be few interruptions.

Then follow this great rule:
Anticipate the interruption.

Make your mind up that you will be interrupted. Think out what you have to say, and say it in your first sentence or your first feio sentences.

If you are not interrupted you may present details, or emphasize by repetitions. If you are interrupted you at least will have expressed your principal thought.

Suppose that the interruption is but for a moment.

In that case, be the first one to renew the conversation.

The man to whom you are talking has been interrupted. His thought is likely to be on some other subject than the one you wish. Bring his thought back by repeating the last few words spoken before the interruption.

Avoid even the slightest appearance of annoyance or hurry.

Renew the conversation as though nothing had occurred, and carry it to completion.

1. Anticipate interruptions.

2. Express your principal thought in your first sentence.

3. If you have been interrupted, be the first to renew the talk.

4. Repeat the last few words said before the interruption.

5. Avoid any appearance of annoyance or hurry.


You are applying for a position. The employer is exposed to constant^ interruptions. Think out your speech, planning to meet several interruptions.

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