Have you decided you wish to be more articulate? Are you spending hours rewriting speeches, editing and deliberating on your word choice? STOP. If you’re trying to be more articulate you have to look at it as a whole – not just pieces of the picture. Being articulate isn’t just about the words coming out of your mouth, it’s also about how you’re saying them.
7 Tips for Becoming More Articulate
- Slow Down
When nervous we have a tendency to speak quickly and rush through what we are saying without thinking. Speak slowly. No one ever says a used cars salesman sounds articulate. Use the pace of your words as a tool to engage your audience and let each word sink in.
- Be concise
Be conscious of your sentence length and mix it up. Using three or more long sentences consecutively will lead you to lose people due to the overload of information. Use short, simple declarative sentences to drive your points home. The more quickly you get to the point, the more clear it will be to the listener.
Record yourself delivering your speech. Use audio only to ensure you pay attention to your tone and message, not your hair or the bags under your eyes. Also try to practice in front of an audience so they can point out any issues that they may have found while listening. If your message is clear to them, then you got it right.
No really. Take meaningful pauses. If there is information that your audience needs to remember pause before and after delivering it. Allow them to absorb the importance of your words. Silence can be a very powerful tool and one that only the most confident of speakers ever think to use.
Speak clearly. Pay special attention to the final sound of each word. Don’t allow your voice to trail off. Making sure you are taking full breaths will allow you to project your voice through the end of a sentence. Mumbling has never worked for anyone but Marlon Brando.
- Sound Intelligent.
Be mindful of your vocabulary choice. It should match your audience. Using jargon will lose your audience, while dumbing it down can make you seem arrogant. Try to match your insights to their interests. Tell stories that are relatable and relevant to them. Determine how your area of expertise can benefit them directly and speak to that.
- Be Confident.
This is always easier said than done, but conviction and practice can help a great deal. Avoid words that make you sound unsure – “I think,” “It might,” and “Umm.” Your body language will also speak volumes to the crowd. Stand up straight, make eye contact, don’t fidget. Give the impression that you are completely unphased and unruffled by speaking to the audience.
These simple tips can help you improve your communication and the quality of your speech in everyday conversation, company and board meetings, and major presentations. Being articulate will advance your career further than anything else possibly could. Speaking with clarity and confidence will never be underrated.