It’s something we do every day, but we may not always be mindful of how well we’re doing it – Speaking.
It’s how we create dialogue and build connections.
We’re talking going beyond the Toastmaster Club and practicing speaking confidently during everyday conversations at work. After all, we spend more time having one-on-one or small group conversations than we do public speaking. We want you to know how to use your words to strut off how knowledgeable, assertive, and overall badass you are. Here’s how.
Throw away filler phrases and words.
Avoid trying to fill potential dead air with phrases like ‘you know what I mean?’ It does not emphasize your point or give the person you are speaking with the chance to engage with you beyond a nod. Consider it a close ended question. Instead, try asking, ‘what are your thoughts?’ to encourage conversation. Also, finesse your ideas by avoiding filler words such as, um, like, right, uh. Eliminating stalling sounds like um and uh makes you sound more assertive and convincing. Other filler words to avoid are: seriously, honestly, actually, and basically.
Use concrete verbs that show off that you’re confident and know your stuff.
Exude that you know what you’re talking about by getting rid of vague verbs such as, I think I know or I believe I know. Instead keep it simple and straightforward and say, I know.
Own what you say through the power of your tone.
Since you know what you’re saying, deliver it as you do. Speak clearly, slowly, avoid yelling, and vary your vocal pitch where appropriate (such as when you’re asking questions). Remember to breathe and also smile during your chat once in a while.
Know who your audience.
In any conversation with a person for the first time, it’s important to start the conversation off with simple, clear, and direct language in order to vibe out their English speaking abilities. Having a good sense of judgment and the use of appropriate vocabulary helps to make you more approachable as you’re not demeaning the other person’s speaking abilities or sounding pompous. If the person is a former English professor then feel free to bring out your inner wordsmith. Otherwise remember that the most important part about conversing is that you are being understood by effectively getting your opinion or idea across.
Practice speaking with clarity.
Try to avoid mumbling, being tangential, and lowering your volume. All of these elements will make you look as if you are not sure of what you are saying or that you’re lost. Keep your idea simple, and remember, less is more. Sometimes we really want to delve into details but it isn’t always needed or appropriate.