3 Sure-fire Ways to Increase Your Vocabulary and Have Folks Listen to You Part II

Do you have your list of Signature Words ?  These are the words that you either use too frequently or are used at inappropriate times.  These are the words that detract from your communication. The tips below have helped me create stronger words to get my point across without sounding like a misguided tween at a Justin Bieber concert:

Get a Thesaurus

I know libraries and bookstores are slowly becoming obsolete. So, if you can’t get to one of these places, direct your browser to this online thesaurus. Look up similar words or phrases and use them in place of your Signature Words. You’ll be amazed at how rich your vocabulary will become. They don’t need to be over-the-top words that will make you sound like a rocket scientist. Choose words that are comfortable to you and will be understood by your audience.

I’d also like to add to this point: avoid using too many jargon words or words/acronyms specific to your field (unless your audience truly understands those words)!  Make sure you know your audience and what vocabulary they will and will not understand.

Make it a Point to Change your Words

Making change takes both knowledge of self and determination to change.  Every speaking opportunity I get (whether that be an impersonal conversation or a business meeting) I consciously work to improve my speaking. It has to be deliberate and purposeful.

Be A Copycat

I cringe at the sound of the word copycat, especially as a teacher when I discouraged my students from copying each other’s work. Yet, it almost seems appropriate in this instance. As I have developed my speaking abilities, I have come to realize that I have borrowed words or phrases (not ENTIRE speeches) from those I admire whether they are professional speakers or co-workers from the office. I “borrow” some of these phrases to make my point and enhance my speaking style.

For example:

My (former) favorite phrase when I train: Are there any questions?

My new favorite phrase while training:  Can I answer any questions? (Kindly borrowed from Bonny Kamen, DTM, District One Toastmasters).

 What are some clever ways you have improved your vocabulary? What are some power phrases or words you use to spice up your speeches?

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