The Master Communicator Blog

What love language do you speak?

How do the five love languages relate to public speaking? When you speak from your heart, speak what you know and gift your audience knowledge and ideas that will make their lives better, you are spreading love.
February 6, 2023


How well do you speak the language of love? 

Valentine’s Day has become a significant cultural celebration of romance, love, and friendship in many regions of the world. But do you know how to communicate in ways that touch hearts and leave lasting impact? Think about the five love languages.

Dr. Gary Chapman identified five expressions of love as the keys to lasting and meaningful relationships. What matters is understanding which love language you speak and which one your friend, partner, spouse, or significant other responds to most, then putting that into practice regularly.

When I took the Love Languages Quiz, I pinpointed “Acts of Service” as my primary love language and “Quality Time” as secondary. I think my friends, family, and colleagues would agree. 

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and Friendship Day, let’s see how the five love languages translate to public speaking, executive presence, and leadership communication.

When it comes to public speaking, the heart is more powerful than the head space. That is, when you speak from your heart, speak what you know and gift your audience knowledge and ideas that will make their lives better, you are spreading love. It can be magic.

Attitude of service is more important than aptitude when it comes to achieving a positive transformation in your audience. The speaker needs to touch the hearts of their audience with words and actions. There are three ways to achieve this: The speaker needs to love the topic, love the audience, and love themselves.

Delivering a flawless speech may only achieve mediocre results. But unless you are also engaging heart-felt emotion, your speech will lack a certain vitality, sincerity, and impact. 

Sure, there are speakers who know how to wow a large audience. They command the attention of thousands, leave them wanting more, and perform with enviable panache. However, many awe-inspiring speakers cannot communicate effectively with individuals, friends, and family. They may be miserable in their personal lives, feel socially awkward, and lack the skills to communicate one-on-one.

That’s where the love languages can play a role.

Communication skills for life start with how you interact with another person. With every word, gesture, movement, and touch you share with others, you are impacting them in small and striking ways. You can enlarge others via your interpersonal communication: complimenting them, listening reflectively, sharing ideas that resonate, adopting an attitude of service, respecting their time, and touching appropriately.

What are the love languages, and how do they relate to public speaking?

1. Love Language: Words of Affirmation

These are verbal compliments and expressions of care and affection. Think: “Thanks for putting the kids to bed” or “You looked really nice today.” Typically, the less generic and more specific the words, the more meaningful they feel to the recipient. Conversely, criticism can be particularly upsetting to people who favor words of affirmation.

How this relates to speakers: 

Mark Twain said: “I can live two months on one compliment.” Complimenting your audience—be it one or thousands—means affirming their strengths, interests, and talents. Statements such as “I appreciate you all coming today.” “Your team has achieved great success. Congratulations.” “You have been a fabulous audience. Thank you for your attention.” These are powerful affirmations. You can be specific about their achievements and efforts and use language that is meaningful to them and related to their industry or profession.

2. Love Language: Gifts

These are tangible and intangible items that make you feel appreciated or noticed. Going to your partner’s concert, for example, is as much a gift as flowers or that new smartphone they want. To individuals who favor this love language, the absence of everyday gestures or a missed special occasion is particularly hurtful.

How this relates to speakers: 

Develop the mindset that what you bring to your audience is a gift of something they didn’t have before you spoke. Perhaps it is the gift of stories that motivates them to stretch higher. It could be insights and solutions to problems they can put into action. Or it could be information that opens their eyes to another point of view. You can also give the gift of attention, active listening, and inviting honest feedback.

3. Love language: Acts of Service

This means doing something useful or kind for your partner. Showing love and kindness non-verbally through helpful actions. Think: Helping with a home improvement project or simply providing emotional support and understanding during a challenging time. For someone who favors acts of service, ambivalence or a lack of support are more damaging than anything else.

How this relates to speakers: 

Kindness is a language understood by all. It has influenced more people than eloquence. Consider how you are expressing caring, compassion, and respect for your audience with your verbal and nonverbal communication. Choose your words carefully to emit warmth and sincerity. Adopt nonverbal cues such as the head tilt and nod to express empathy and inspire trust.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak,

but their echoes are truly endless.”

Mother Teresa

4. Love language: Quality Time

Quality time is a part of every relationship—but people who experience this as a love language will feel the benefits more keenly and crave time where both people are present without distraction. Quality time constitutes engaging in an activity together, particularly one you both enjoy, like a walk after dinner or watching TV with a bowl of guacamole and chips. If this is your love language, having a distracted or distant partner that makes you feel unseen or unheard is the biggest pitfall.

How this relates to speakers: 

When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. As a speaker, you want to use your time to the greatest benefit for your audience and, ultimately for yourself. From the audience side, they want their time respected and not wasted. As a speaker, you need to stay on schedule, even return some time to your listeners by finishing early. Keep it short, and content packed. Use your allotted time to deliver value and enrichment.

5. Love language: Physical Touch

This includes physical expressions of affection in all its forms—a hug, a caress, a kiss, holding hands, a back massage, and sex. The absence of touch can leave individuals who connect on this level feeling isolated in a relationship.

How this relates to speakers: 

There are times when words ring hollow, and it is physical contact that provides comfort and reassurance. One of the most powerful ways to engage another person is to touch them. Touching changes relationships and lives. I’m not suggesting that you hug every member of your audience, which may be culturally inappropriate (yet permissible in Latin cultures). But what if you warm up the room before you speak? Greeting everyone with a touch on the shoulder or a handshake will create a bond that few words can match. 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

This is the goal I propose to you as an emerging or experienced speaker. The heart is more powerful than the head space in the context of communication. When you share the love and enchant your audience, you are better able to change hearts, minds, and actions. In concept, speak the language of love, and don’t let your communication get lost in translation.

Rosemary Ravinal

Business leaders and entrepreneurs who want to elevate their public speaking impact, executive presence, and media interview skills come to me for personalized attention and measurable results. I am recognized as America’s Premier Bilingual Public Speaking Coach after decades as a corporate spokesperson and media personality in the U.S. mainstream, Hispanic and Latin American markets. My company’s services are available for individuals, teams, in-person and online, and in English and Spanish in South Florida and elsewhere.

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