Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Word: Mussitation


[muhs-i-tey-shuh n]
1. silent movement of the lips in simulation of the movements made in audible speech.
2. muttering; mumbling; murmuring. 
Denise blinked a few times as she tried to process what she had just heard.
“I’m sorry, can you repeat that, please?” She asked.
The man sitting across from her mumbled something.  It was barely audible, and Dennise could not tell even the smallest of words he said.  
“I...see.” She said.
She wanted to ask him to talk louder, she really did.  But that might be considered rude to this man.  She had heard rumors about how easily offended he was, and she desperately needed to keep him in a good mood.  At least, she thought he was in a good mood.  It was hard to tell, what with his barely audible voice and mostly expressionless face.
The man mumbled something else.  Denise nodded along, pretending to hear what he said.  A drop of sweat marched down her back.  The biggest potential contract in her company’s history was dependent on her ability to understand the worst mumbler she had ever met.  Not a good combination.
He stopped talking and looked at her expectantly.  She took a deep breath.  What she said next could determine the future of her company.
“I think I understand what you’re saying.” She said.  “Let me see if I’ve got this right.”
She went through the details of what she hoped he said.  She had no idea if she was correct, or even in the ballpark, but it was what made sense to her.  When she was finished, she looked at the mumbling businessman.  He again started to mumble.  She could not hear what he said, but whatever words he was saying did not sound angry.  That was a start.  
Denise had given up trying to figure out what he was saying.  It was time to use one of the many skills she had obtained in the business world: faking it.  If she played her cards right and kept her statements vague enough, he would fill in the blanks any way he wanted.
“That sounds good.” Denise said.  “And that will lead to more upward growth, right?”
Buzzwords.  Most people hated them.  But they were Denise’s bread and butter, especially in times like this.  Her potential business partner mumbled something that sounded like an answer.  Denise replied with more buzzword heavy phrases and statements, and the mumbler nodded along just as much as she did when he spoke.  It was either very good or very bad.  He either approved of what she said, or he was much better at hiding his annoyance than the rumors had led her to believe.  
The man said something that sounded quite final.  An expression not unlike a smile crossed his face and he stood up.  Denise followed suit.  He held out his right hand, which she took.  A firm handshake, a quick nod, and the man walked out the door.
Denise flopped back down in her seat and breathed a sigh of relief.  She still had no idea what had just happened, but it seemed to have gone well.  Now she just had to hope the actual contract creation would go as well. 
Remember people, speak so that other people can hear you.  Just because you can hear your own voice does not mean others can do the same.  It's a skill that's a lot harder to learn than you might think.  I'm still trying to figure it out.  

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