If you’re like most professionals, you’ve had the experience of poring over an important document, e-mail or report that you’ve written, trying to make sure that you’ve chosen just the right words to convey your message. Unfortunately, in spoken communication you don’t have the luxury of time to choose your words quite as carefully. However the words you use in conversation are essential to both communicating your message effectively and shaping your professional image. Many of my clients, both native and non-native English speakers tell me that they often have trouble finding the word they want to use when speaking. Take a look at our tips below to make sure you find the right word every time:
- Quickly search your vocabulary memory according to categories and subcategories (e.g., food: vegetable: carrot.) You can also search by going through the letters of the alphabet.
- Slow down! Speaking at a reduced rate not only improves your clarity and makes you seem more confident, it also gives you a better chance of making better vocabulary choices.
- Use description to help you find the word or communicate it to your listener. You can even use gesture if need be. I often give the example of a pen. If I am unable to think of the word pen, but I said “I need something to write with,” wouldn’t you understand my intent? If I made a gesture that I am writing, wouldn’t that also completely communicate my needs? It is important not to get too focused on the exact word but rather to focus on communicating your intended message.
- Try to generate a sentence or a phrase to recall the word (e.g., “I need a ________”). Sometimes a leader phrase like this can make the word come out naturally.
- Don’t be afraid to take a brief pause. Pausing can have a range of benefits in professional communication: driving home an important point, allowing time for proper breathing and increased breath support, and allowing your listener time to better absorb your message. It can also buy you some much needed time to find a word that you want to use but are having trouble retrieving in the moment.
Would you or a colleague benefit from communication training or accent reduction services? Give us a call and see how Corporate Speech Solutions can improve your professional life! Call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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