Verbal communication is the backbone of our existence. In order to do anything, you have to be able to verbally communicate with people. Of course, if you can speak you can communicate. However, do you communicate well? Even if you are a full-time blogger or freelancer, you’ll eventually have to pick up the phone or talk to a customer face-to-face. Being able to communicate effectively with others is a tremendous asset for everything from negotiating with service providers to trying to land a new job or promotion in the workplace.
Mark Twain once wrote, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” How true that is. There is a huge difference between telling someone that you demand they do something and saying that you would like them to do what you’re asking. Choose your words carefully so that you don’t aggravate people or unintentionally strike a nerve.
It’s great to have a large vocabulary, but not everyone else does. Don’t use a complicated word when there is a simpler word you can use instead. You don’t want your listener(s) to lose your meaning just because you’re trying to impress them with your large vocabulary. Clear, direct words will help you get your point across much more precisely.
It may seem superficial to you, but if you pronounce words incorrectly people won’t take you seriously. If you’re thinking of a word, but you don’t know how to pronounce it properly, then choose another word. Bad pronunciation of words makes you seem uneducated even though you may actually be quite intelligent. You can establish credibility with your listener simply by making sure you don’t mispronounce words.
Even if you’re really excited about something, good or bad, it does not do you any good to bombard people with a rush of words. The human ear and brain can only process so much information at once. On the other hand, you don’t want to speak so slowly that people think you’re belittling them or talking down to them. Speak with a natural, even pace and slightly raise your voice for emphasis only when you have an important point to make.
Slang words are like fads; they come and go. Additionally, slang differs in various areas of the country and across different age groups. What sounds perfectly acceptable among your friends may not go over too well with your boss or if you’re speaking to an audience. Just like you wouldn’t use slang in formal writing, you shouldn’t use it while you’re speaking professionally or talking to someone you don’t know like a company representative.
Verbal communication is an art form, and like all art forms, you have to use the right techniques. When something is really important to you, it can be difficult to get your point across. Keep your emotions in check and remember that the better you verbally communicate your point, the more chance you’ll have of achieving your goal. The trick isn’t just to make your point, but to make your point effectively.
About the Author: Tony Smith is a full-time writer with a passion for communications and technology. He also enjoys writing about jobs in healthcare, personal finance, and industry.
Originally posted on October 22, 2011 @ 7:59 pm