Have you ever had those moments when you’re talking to someone and have no idea what they are saying? The best response you can muster up is a simple head nod or blind agreeance?
That, my friends, is what you call poor articulation. Or, more simply put, that person was not very articulate. Considering people come from all walks of life, speak many languages, and have different dialects, it’s not a horrible thing for someone to say that you aren’t articulate. However, it does get in the way of effectively networking and maintaining quality conversations.
Not articulating your thoughts and feelings can be a huge barrier in your professional and personal life, but never fear. We have some quality tips on how to be more articulate.
What Does it Mean to Be Articulate?
In basic terms, being articulate means expressing yourself clearly and effectively. Eloquent speakers can convey complex ideas using a wide range of vocabulary, proper grammar, and a confident tone. They are also adept at using nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and posture, to enhance their communication. Learning how to be more articulate is an ongoing process that ultimately improves all aspects of your communication skills.
Why is Good Speech So Important?
Effective communication and proper diction are crucial in all aspects of life, but it holds a special significance in your professional career. Good speech enables individuals to state their thoughts and ideas clearly and confidently. It also helps them build and maintain strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and superiors.
In the business world, communicating persuasively, negotiating skillfully, and presenting compelling arguments can make all the difference between success and failure. Additionally, good speech indicates professionalism, and we all know how much professionalism is valued by employers. It’s such a highly valued skill that it can lead to opportunities for career advancement. In short, mastering the art of good speech is essential for anyone looking to thrive in their career and make a lasting impact.
5 Benefits of Being More Articulate
In the grand scheme, being well-spoken and articulate is one tool that launches people into successful careers. Why? Because effective communication and being conversational are small foundational building blocks that enhance your interactions with others. While the results of being articulate are numerous, five key benefits directly play a role in career development.
- Being more articulate makes you appear more competent and understanding.
- Great articulation lessens social anxiety and makes you more comfortable in social situations.
- Other people will be more likely to put you in leadership positions.
- Feedback conversations (asking for or giving) are easier and more productive.
- You’ll be able to talk to anybody, no matter age, cultural background, ethnicity, etc.
7 Effective Tips on How to Be More Articulate
Record Yourself Speaking
Nobody likes to hear the sound of their own voice, but it’s so important when learning how to be more articulate. When we speak, we often don’t realize when we mispronounce words or overuse filler words. But practicing speaking and recording yourself gives you a chance to catch small pronunciation mistakes, which you can eliminate with more practice.
Another reason recording yourself speaking is beneficial is it gives you a chance to listen to your tone, voice, and cadence. Sometimes when we are nervous, we tend to say things fast or in a tone that we don’t mean. Maybe, we don’t even have a tone at all. Making any of these mistakes while interviewing or presenting could cause the audience to miss key aspects of your speech or misinterpret what you are trying to say.
Use Pauses Effectively
Contrary to what many people think, a moment of silence is okay. In fact, a moment of silence is really powerful when used correctly. But inserting a pause at the wrong time can make things awkward or difficult to follow.
The best time to use a pause is when you transition from one key idea to the next or if you ask a rhetorical question that you would like the listener to think about. In an interview or conversation, it’s okay to pause briefly before answering questions or responding to a thought-provoking statement. Instances where pauses could make the interaction uncomfortable are if you hesitate because you are unprepared or you include unnecessary breaks in the middle of a statement or idea.
Avoid Filler Words
Um. Well. Like…. get to the point (at least that’s what listeners are thinking). Filler words are the thief of attention.
When interviewing, presenting, or having a normal conversation, you want all the attention to be on your greatest ideas. Using filler words sparingly is okay because it may give you time to collect your thoughts or indicate that what you say next is important. However, using these words in every other sentence is very distracting. Ultimately, the audience will lose interest quickly.
Completely avoiding filler words is nearly impossible, but they say practice makes permanent. So, the more you practice and find ways to eliminate empty words, the more you learn how to organize your thoughts into direct and meaningful statements. You may also find that embracing effective pauses helps break the habit of leaning on filler words. Remember, silence is powerful. You don’t have to fill every second with words.
Be Confident in Yourself
Whether you know it or not, people can sense fear and confidence. Often, people’s first reaction to someone who is timid is to be supportive and encourage them to keep going. Subconsciously, though, the lack of self-confidence affects how much they trust what you say. Little to no confidence makes your audience feel like you are guessing. Whereas, if you are more fluid and confident, the audience feels you’ve done your research.
There is no quick solution to building confidence except to converse, speak, and interact with people more often. The more you successfully do something, the more you build confidence.
Slow it Down
When people are nervous or anxious, theybegintalkinglikethis. Their words jumble together, their thoughts overlap, and they stumble through ideas. Realistically, you probably don’t have this problem when practicing your speech. Speedy speech often shows up once you’re in front of everyone, and you worry you’ll forget all your key points. In this situation, pause and commit to taking it slowly. It may also help if you keep a notecard to stay organized. Remember, it’s more important to get your ideas across effectively, not quickly.
Simplify Your Speech
Sounding educated isn’t about using big, fancy words. Instead, the most educated and influential people get their reputation because they can convey their thoughts in as few words as possible. These are people who can persuade or educate others by speaking a common language. And that common language is simplicity. Simplicity is speaking in a way that everyone can understand no matter their cultural background, education level, or age. Of course it’s important to add jokes and use metaphores. Just remember that at the end of the day, simplicity wins.
Imitate Speakers You Admire
Imitation is not a bad thing. It’s one of the best ways to learn and grow. So, if there are speakers you admire, study how they present themselves. Take note of things like their cadence, tone, and storytelling ability. Then, analyze their strengths and where they can improve. From there, you can compare their style to yours and take bits and pieces to help make you a better speaker. Also, practicing your evaluation skills on great speakers will help you gauge your growth over time.
How to Be More Articulate When You’re Telling Stories
Storytelling is an art. It’s something that you can incorporate into public speaking engagements, interviews, and friendly conversations. Because stories are broad and captivating, it’s a huge plus if you can successfully tell a story that gets your point across and generates a dialogue.
Identify the Beginning, Middle, and End
Any story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Before you tell your story on a whim, you should be able to identify and plan where details fall. If you neglect the planning stage, you’ll find yourself jumping through your story’s timeline, which can confuse whoever you’re talking to.
Be Picky With Your Details
You likely have two to five minutes max to tell a great story. So, you’ve got to be picky with your details. Ask yourself what the audience may not know or what questions they may have as you move through the story. This is the information that should be included. Any other information that does not lend to the story’s punchline, timeline, or events should be omitted. You want to avoid information dumping.
Deliver with a Boom
If you get to the end of your story and there are *crickets*, then your story is not very impactful. Your audience may not have even gotten the point. So remember, everything you say should lead up to the moment you deliver the main idea or punchline to your story. Be suspenseful throughout, and when you deliver the ending, make sure you do it with emotion.
Being articulate is the ability to express yourself clearly and effectively. As we see, it is a crucial skill in all aspects of life, especially in your professional career. It enables you to state your thoughts and ideas clearly and confidently. Additionally, it allows you to appear more competent, understanding, and calm.
Improving articulation is an ongoing process that ultimately enhances all aspects of communication skills, leading to opportunities for career advancement and making a lasting impact. So, if you aim to build a wider network or appeal to your boss more, the first step is following these tips to learn how to be more articulate.