5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Speaking Skills
While we’re social creatures by nature, not all of us enjoy speaking. Why? Because we’re simply not good at it. Or at least, that’s what we tell ourselves.
The reason being, one awkward conversation in the past has worsened our expectations for the future. So we dread a simple conversation like the bubonic plague.
But what we often forget is that no one is born as a great speaker. Obviously, if a toddler became a good orator that would make more than a couple of headlines.
My point is, everyone has to learn and practice speaking from a young age. And this learning process never ends.
Sure it becomes much easier than when we were toddlers. But the same challenges back then are still relevant now.
So if our goal is to speak better, there’s only one way to reach it. We simply need to put in more time and effort.
To that end, here are 5 steps literally anyone can use to improve their speaking skills, enjoy!
#1: get physically used to speaking
Every now and then we’d hear anecdotes of people accidentally biting their tongues when they’re talking or giving a speech. Or maybe they’re having trouble pronouncing certain words correctly.
That being said, there’s a problem that ties all those stories together. The speakers themselves haven’t practiced speaking enough.
How do we know that?
In short, speaking is a process that involves our stomach muscles, lungs, voice box, tongue, teeth, lips, and facial muscles. The key part being the muscles.
What if we’re not used to moving our muscles?
Our movements become stiff, awkward, unpleasant, and we’re more likely to get injuries. The same applies to speaking. And the most noticeable example is incorrect pronunciation.
We struggle to pronounce foreign words correctly because our faces, mouths, and tongues are simply not used to producing the right sounds.
But the solution here is really simple. To punch better we practice punches. To run better we keep running. And to speak better we keep speaking.
After that, all we have to do is maintain our shape. There are no shortcuts if you want to master the art of speaking, only persistence, and effort!
#2: become more articulate through writing
When it comes to all types of communication, it’s simply relaying our thoughts, feelings or knowledge to someone else.
But depending on the complexity of the subject, speaking is very difficult at times. Mostly because we have to push out thoughts immediately as they appear in our minds.
That’s why there’s very little time to think about what we’re going to say. So people tend to use “uhh”, ”umm” and brief pauses to give them time to think.
It essentially comes down to our ability to join our thoughts and form sentences. The better we are at this, the more articulate we are, and the more naturally our thoughts and ideas will flow when we speak.
That being said, this is something that takes a lot of practice. No one is amazingly good at this from the start. And the best way to practice this, surprisingly enough, is by writing.
So we take a blank piece of paper, put down a subject that we want to speak about, and write anything that comes to our minds relating to it.
This starts out similar to writing a speech. But the main difference is that this it’s something that you won’t have to memorize and recite. All of it will come out naturally.
What usually emerge first are our strongest thoughts on the subject. These are followed by lesser thoughts, bits, and pieces of knowledge, and random trivia.
This gives us a chance to look over the thoughts, group them, draw connections between them, and better understand them.
The more we repeat this process, the more organized our thoughts become. And the surprising side effect is that talking to someone or speaking becomes much easier as well.
All because we now have access to neatly organized knowledge, instead of having to rummage through a pile of information we’re unsure about.
And this works for absolutely any topic. All we have to do is pick one and repeat the exercise above.
That’s the simplest way almost anyone can become really good at speaking.
#3: be more knowledgeable
Sometimes it’s really hard to speak or to keep a conversation going because we run out of things to say. But the most straightforward way to avoid this is absorbing lots and lots of knowledge.
Things like recent trends, world events, business theories, philosophical concepts, memes, and anything at all. Even the most obscure bit of trivia will give us something to talk about.
And thanks to the advent of the internet, we have access to this knowledge by just making simple google search or visiting Reddit.
The trick here is to immerse ourselves in a wide variety of topics, so no matter who we’re talking to, we’d always have something relevant or interesting to say.
But it’s not about becoming an expert at any subject, all we need is to have enough conversational knowledge.
And when we combine this with the previous step, we can learn how to make small talk with just about anyone!
To make it a little bit easier, here’s a list of great books that are packed with immense knowledge: >>CLICK ME<<
#4: learn how to listen
When we’re having a conversation with someone or even when giving a speech, being patient enough to listen is as important as speaking. Here’s why:
- When we’re listening, we’re showing the other party our interest, so they’re likelier to share more information.
- More information means we can produce a better and more thought out response, which will, in turn, keep the conversation going or engage the audience.
- It gives us a chance to rest and regroup our thoughts, so we won’t get tired of speaking as quickly.
That being said, it’s best not to space out while listening, otherwise, it will have a negative effect on how the other party or audience perceives you
But once we learn how to listen properly, it becomes an amazing tool to boost our talking and speaking skills.
#5: understand how to talk to anyone about anything
When we’re talking to close friends and family members, the conversations always seem more pleasant and natural. Why’s that?
The reason is really simple. When we’re talking to strangers or people we don’t like, we’re subconsciously holding ourselves back in many ways.
Social anxiety can and will manifest in many ways, whether it’s distrust, discomfort or disinterest.
It not only worsens our ability to speak and maintain a conversation but also causes the other person to respond the same way.
This is why conversations go badly in so many cases. That’s also why speeches sometimes don’t reach their recipients.
As a result, speaking seems more difficult than it should be. But there’s a solution here.
In any conversation, we should try to emulate the feeling we have when talking to close friends and family members.
So even if it’s a stranger, we pretend like we’re chatting to a lifelong friend. We treat them with genuine interest and care while assuming they’re gonna treat us the same way.
It’s a difficult skill to master, but when we do, starting and maintaining a conversation becomes much easier. And we’ll even make new friends in the process.
All because there’s no social anxiety anymore. It’s simple proof that mindset is as important as speaking skills.
It’s time to get better at speaking!
I hope you enjoyed reading! All of the tips above can be put into action immediately to see an improvement in your speaking ability.
We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments! Anything about the site, the posts or tips to improve verbal communication skills.
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See you next time, live empowered!
Here’s an in-depth guide from Stanford lecturer Matt Abrahams on super-effective techniques to help anyone become a master at speaking: