Choosing Words With Care

Words are the building blocks of communication.

Have you ever noticed that you use more words when speaking than you do when writing? Forget the funny sounds you make when you speak — ums, grunts and breathy sounds — I’m talking about the utterance of a lot of words. Many times, when vocalizing, it seems like people are just talking to fill up dead air and awkward silence. To me, that’s why the word that is an abomination to our society, “like,” seems so prevalent. It simply fills up space.
“Like, my mom, said, like, you need to clean your dorm room, like, every day.”

There’s not as much pre-planning in extemporaneous speaking as there is in writing. This lack of preparation gives poetic license to spew forth a lot of words, strings of them connecting into sentences. And then those long, rambling sentences turn into soliloquies that have you talking without thinking.

Good verbal communicators, however, take many writing rules and apply them to their spoken words: strong, definitive phrases, short, clear sentences and rich, descriptive words.

Here’s the one that really gets you on a new level of verbal communication: Thinking about what you want to say before saying it.

So, you think that’s obvious, huh? How many celebrities’ reputations have plummeted upon the utterance of an unplanned faux pas? How many people would like to take back what they just said to an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend? I think you get my point.

Speaking is easy. Speaking well and with impact is a whole different deal. Choose your words wisely, talk in understandable and concise phrases, repeat important points and give strong inflection to the things you want people to really hear.

Think, plan, pontificate.

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