According to Merriam-Webster Online, the etymology of the word “eloquent” is Latin, meaning “to speak” or “speak out”. Their definition of “eloquence” uses words like force and persuasiveness, which make me recoil in a bit of shock and concern. This is not exactly what I mean when I advocate eloquence, and frankly, not what I think most of us think of when we hear the word.
Fortunately, the web provides multitudes of credible word definition sites and this one from Princeton is exactly what I had in mind: It is primarily the power of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language, thereby producing conviction or persuasion. The term is also used for writing in a fluent style.
I love the Princeton definition for a few reasons: it talks about strong emotions, it mentions fluency and it brings up appropriateness.
Eloquence, to me, is about communicating with intention, crafting your message thoughtfully, taking into consideration others involved in the exchange, and expending some highly valuable energy on making it sound fabulous.
That fabulous part is where authenticity joins in. Your fabulous is different than my fabulous. Fabulous is about your passion, your language, your style. To me, the Princeton definition is way more fabulous (and accurate, actually – but language really can be so very personal, can't it?) and it serves my purpose in communicating my business message.
Know your fabulous. Dig deep. This doesn't arrive without considerable inquiry, maybe even a bit of the proverbial navel contemplation (no connection to actual “deep digging” here). Once you have explored sufficiently, be sure to name your style. Articulate your message, craft your mission statement; give yourself a statement that represents you. Use this clearly articulated statement when you craft your messaging – any messaging – and your communication will be infinitely more memorable and powerful. Infinitely.