Speak up! When Engaged in a Writing Critique

By Ron Pavellas

1.       When you are critiquing in a group of three or more writers, you are speaking to the whole group, not just selected members.  Side conversations should be avoided because more than one person will be speaking at the same time. Side conversations do not include all members.

2.        Project your voice, consciously, toward the person furthest from you. Observe whether he/she seems to be straining to understand you.

3.       Speak from the belly, not just the throat and not just the nose. Employ the fullest possible spectrum of sound (high, medium, and low).

4.       Use your mouth to enunciate clearly. People read lips more than you may be aware. Don’t cover your mouth with your hand.

5.       Maintain your speaking volume at a consistent level.  Don’t swoop, swallow words, or make quiet and hurried asides to your neighbor, to yourself, or to Harvey the six-foot rabbit.

6.       Slow Down!

7.       Don’t talk over the current speaker. We can pay attention to only one speaker at a time. Two simultaneous conversations are just noise.

8.       Don’t be shy. You’ve something important to say and we want to understand it, not merely perceive that you are speaking.