Deborah Brooks MA, CCC/SLP

Speech Language Pathologist


Deborah Brooks

Emotions carry the majority of the message we are communicating. The speaker’s behaviors and emotions tell the listener how they should feel about what is being said. If a comedian is nervous, the audience will be nervous. If a parent is angry, the child will be scared. If the speaker is giggling, the listener is waiting for a punchline. When teaching, I think it is important to show the kids what Im feeling because chances are they aren’t listening to what I am saying. Think about it, people are talking to them all day long, they are tuning out a minimum of 60% of what they are told. If I want to teach them something, I have to make them feel something. In order to communicate a lesson, authors typically utilize rhetorical devices (i.e. metaphor, irony, suspense, analogy, juxtaposition…) which appeal to the readers ethos (morals), pathos (emotions), or logos (ideas). This way, the reader is able to make a deeper connection and better comprehend the author’s message. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  Regardless of age, I talk to my students as if they were adults, but remember they are children. I choose to speak to children the way I would speak to anyone else, because thats the way I am able to most accurately and simultaneously convey my thoughts and emotions. When a child does something wrong, those working in education are instructed to say something like, “Was that the right thing to do?” This way the child feels empowered by their admission and understanding of what they did wrong. Which I think is great, but I like to toss in a “Are you for real? Was that the right to do?” and the the look, followed by silent eye contact. I want to be sure they know I disapprove and I am thoroughly unimpressed with their behavior. It is infact, the opposite of funny. As a result, they will feel disappointed in themselves because they know I expect better. It is important to always expect and praise positive behavior. Expecting poor behavior from a child is a surefire way to elicit poor behavior. If a child does act out, then force them to talk about it. Most people do not like to talk about that time they were overdramatic and acted irrationally. Talk about it every time and they will stop acting out because they do not want to keep having to talk about it. I will, for the 100th time, explain the importance of not allowing oneself’s to be hijacked by their emotions. If this has no effect, then refer them to a psychologist.


People who have difficulty regulating or comprehending emotions, also often have speech and language disorders. Those who fall under the category of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)  have display difficulty appropriately conveying and comprehending messages. Communication is disrupted because they are unable to identify with or express emotions. If a speaker does not show the listener how they are feeling, then the listener does not really know how to feel. That’s why jokes are funny. Based on the words and the emotions of the comics, the audience is expecting the story to go in a particular direction. That unexpected twist, is the punchline.

People won’t remember everything you say or do but they will always remember they way you make them feel. Communication is not fully achieved without the presence of emotion.