One reason the English language is a challenge to learn is the sheer number of words available to communicate our thoughts and messages. It is this richness that allows us to communicate with greater distinction and accuracy. The subtle differences between words of a similar meaning allows us to choose the best word that conveys our intention.
If you find yourself tongue-tied or at-a-loss-for-words it might behoove you to enrich your vocabulary. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the best word is always the big word but don’t settle for a word that gets close when you have at your disposal a more accurate word.
Below is just 100 words (watch for more) every good communicator needs to have in their vocabulary. Which ones do you use regularly? Which ones do you need to add to your vocabulary? Which ones do you love? Which one have you forgotten?
Most people believe they are pretty good communicators. But you aren’t most people, right?
How well you express yourself determines how successful you’ll be in business and in life. The real question is are you continuously upgrading your communication skills or are you content with…”my skills work well enough”?
Here are 5 questions you’ll want to ask yourself if you want to know if you’re expressing yourself successfully:
1. Are you sending a clear, concise message when you speak? I s your message organized? Is your message free of jargon and lingo…not everyone speaks the same language you do. Is your message organized so others can easily follow what you’re saying.
2. Can you be heard? Is your volume loud enough and your enunciation crisp and clear? Are you speaking from your mouth or from your lungs? Are you using your breath to your advantage.
3. Do you ask for and listen to feedback? Want real growth? This is a fast way to up-level your skills and gain a new perspective. Ask people you trust to give you an honest assessment of your ability to express yourself clearly.
4. Have you considered how each receiver of your message might be filtering your message? Do you check to see if your message will pass through the receiver’s filters and still be understood as you intended? Ask clarifying questions, pause and give the recipient time to process before assuming they understood your message as you intended.
5. Is your message visually, verbally and vocally congruent? Does your body say one thing while your words say another? Does your voice negate your words? If these 3 components aren’t working together to send the same message your body language will often outweigh your words.
Assertive communication means you have the right to stand up for yourself while still respecting the rights of others. Aggressive behavior is when you believe you have rights but no one else does. Passive behavior is the opposite. You believe you have no rights but others do.
Assertive behavior is finding the balance between the extremes. Obtaining that balance isn’t always easy especially with aggressive or abusive co-workers. Here are a few tips to help when a colleague slips into aggressive communication.
1. Recognize that your co-worker may be suffering from stress that isn’t visible to you. Problems in personal relationships, money woes, challenges with children, health issues or even the morning’s miserable traffic are examples of stressful events that can trigger abusive behavior.
2. Do nothing. Let your colleague vent as long as you are not in physical danger. If you sense an altercation is about to escalate remove yourself from situation–immediately. If you feel the need to say something try, “Bill, this is getting out of hand. I’m leaving now. I’ll check back in a short time and we can continue once we cool down. Avoid saying, “calm down.” Only a 911 operator should use that phrase.
3. Remember that the first wave of anger is probably not the last. Use the pause to clarify what you heard and understood. Calmly state, “If I understood you correctly…” Your co-worker’s rage is usually associated Read more
If you get a good chuckle from this video it’s likely because you’ve experienced something similar…hopefully, you weren’t the one speaking!
But, if you see yourself in this video don’t cringe. Just vow to change one or two things immediately. Do you fail to connect with your audience when they walk into your presentation? Next time, set up early and be ready to greet and meet your audience when they walk into the room. Getting to know them personally goes a long way to rule #1. connecting to your audience.
Want to learn more about how you can use speaking to market your business or if you want to become a better presenter to improve your career…join me for a FREE strategy session.
Communication is more than just your words. Your voice also adds to the meaning of your words. The message the sound of your voice sends is so powerful it may override your actual words.
Consider the words, “everything’s okay.” This phrase can mean a variety of things depending on how you say it:
“Everything’s okay.” Reassuring or soothing.
“Everything’s O-KAAY.” Sarcastic. As in, ” I told you already!”
“Uh…everything’s uh…okayyyyy.” Unsure or still checking.
Everything okay? a question.
What makes each statement be perceived differently are the three characteristics of the voice: pitch, volume and quality. Maximizing these will make you a more powerful and confident communicator.
You can learn to control all three voice characteristics. Here are a few tips:
Pitch: How high or low your voice is. Talk in a high pitched voice, as if you are speaking to an infant, and you’ll notice your voice is a bit hollow and thin. This happens because you are speaking from inside your mouth. Drop to a low voice and you can feel the sound coming from deeper in your throat. The best pitch for normal conversation is the sound that comes when you breathe fully from abdomen causing your diaphragm to expand. When you are nervous or fearful your voice may sound high or pinched because you’re breathing from the top of the lungs. Take a breath.
Volume: This is how loud your voice is. Again, the volume must come from your diaphragm and not your throat. Throat volume sounds like shouting not confidence. If people continuously ask you to speak up you’ll want to increase your volume, otherwise you may notice others ignoring you. You can practice increasing your volume by “pushing” someone across the room by the volume of your voice. Your practice partner can only move backward if they feel your voice moving them. Try it. You’ll begin to hear what a powerful voice sounds like even though it may sound too loud at first.
Quality: This is the richness, emotion and meaning your voice sends. Pitch and volume adds to the quality but so does your feelings and overall health. Notice the difference the quality of your voice has when you’re feeling sad as opposed to when you’re feeling on top of the world. This is why it is so important to smile when you are talking on the phone–people can tell!
Unclear communication and workplace misunderstandings can lead to a loss of productivity, money, clients or worse. Clear communication is the benchmark of a good office and tops the lists of best business practices with a capital “C”.
The clear communication implementation process begins when a new hire joins your team. As a manager, it is your job to make the person Read more
The process of communication gets initiated even before you utter the first syllable. If being misunderstood while communicating is something you have experienced, you need to read on and find a solution to the problem.
Account for Communication Filters. You must consider how your listener might be filtering your message. What is her perception on receiving your message? Is the message too emphatic and in a tone which is too demanding on her? Is there a language barrier? If your listener speaks a different dialect or a different language, interpreting your message may lag behind the pace of your speaking. These filters, if not removed, break the communication process. Communication filters are inherent to the process of communication and some major reasons why they creep in are:
– Cultural Differences. Are the two communicating parties from divergent cultural backgrounds? Different religious overtones? These differences could color the way your message is received and perceived. Be aware of such a difference.
– Level of Education. Varying levels of education between communicating parties need a higher level empathy on the part of the better educated. The other party might be feeling threatened by an imposing attitude or show of more knowledge.
– Different Social Levels – A huge barrier and an obstructive filter to efficient communication. Your feeling of being socially upward compared to the other party shows in your mannerism and is a strict No-go when you want to have a successful communication. Balanced mannerism and profile show prior to start of a conversation leads to higher chance of the conversation moving ahead and also puts the other person at ease. So, leave the heavy baggage behind and treat every one your equal.
The practice observing your listener for signs of confusion will stand you in good stead. Check to see if your message will pass through the receiver’s filters and still be understood as you intended. Be a responsible communicator to avoid misunderstandings.