Speech Improvement Resources
Your Words Do Matter

We've all been in situations where we'd love to be able to "take back" the words that we said because they have been misinterpreted.  We frequently say to ourselves, "Why did I just say that?" or we get a sinking feeling in our stomach.  As we all know, once we've said something, it's out there.  We can't get it back.  Typically,  there are three choices that we have at that point, "back track", restate or apologize.  Generally speaking, many people will respond by saying, "I know what you mean." or "I understand.", because they know how it feels when it happens to them.  However, there are times, depending on the situation or the person that we are speaking with, when choosing the "wrong"words to express our thoughts can be devastating, i.e. job interviewing, interacting with a prospective client, our spouse, etc.

In today's world, our face to face communication is limited due to information overload, technology, busyness, and our incredibly complex and competitive world.  Unfortunately, this is the reality.  Because of these decreasing opportunities, we need to make the most of each time we communicate face to face by being effective and authentic.  The words we choose when these opportunities arise are a vital component to that end.

Word selection of course is dependent on many factors: the situation, the person we are speaking with, the tone that we want to convey, our goal of the interaction, as well as the breath and depth of our vocabulary knowledge.  Awareness of the environment that we are in is essential.  Of course, we have a desire to present ourselves in a knowledgeable and polished manner.  Our word choices can help establish that.  A few caveats, do not use too much technical jargon, slang or expressions such as "he's a hot head, kill two birds with one stone, etc. because others' may not be familiar with these meanings due to professional, generational or cultural differences.

In addition to word selection,  we need to manage our body language so we don't send unintentional messages.  An effective strategy for communication effectiveness is that we need to make sure we have an opportunity to prepare. We need to take time to think about our introductions,  how we will respond  to various questions, and asking questions to others. Additionally, we can watch others that are effective communicators and incorporate some of those observations in our communication.

 

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"Effective communication starts with listening."

Robert Gately, Executive