What is phrasing?

When we speak, it's not just a stream of continuous sound. There are pauses between groups of words, which help make the message easier to follow. Chunking is the process of packaging information into meaningful thought groups separated by pauses, like how punctuation is used in written language. 

For example, if someone is giving you a phone number, they could say '0490654321' or they could break it up into chunks, and say  '0490 654 321', which is more natural to say and easier to understand.

When we group our thoughts into chunks and allow some gaps or pauses between each thought group, it's easier for both the speaker and the listener.

Why is phrasing important?

Pausing and chunking package information for the listener. Speakers put speech into thought groups, which may be single words or groups of words, communicating one thought or idea. For example: "Good morning // my name's Doctor Lee // I'm the doctor on call here today."  There are three thought groups here, separated by pauses.

Within a chunk or a thought group, speakers often link the words together, rather than pronouncing each word separately.

When information is phrased effectively, it is logical, organised and consistent. This makes it easy to understand and helps your listener follow your thought processes clearly.

Why is phrasing difficult?

Speakers who don't use chunking and pausing effectively can overwhelm listeners with 'too much information.' The most common challenges in this area are

(a) not pausing between thought groups or

(b) pausing in the wrong place within a thought group.

Both of these make it hard for listeners to follow your meaning.    

For example: "The test results are back. You have gonorrhea. I'll write you a prescription for some antibiotics and see you again in a week."

Grouping information and ideas using effective chunking and pausing helps make the message clear.

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