As speakers, we are always looking for ways that we can use the importance of public speaking to make our next speech have more of an impact with our audience. We’ll consider what we can do with our body language, the use of props, and many other things. However, it turns out that one of the most powerful things that we can do to give our next speech a better chance of connecting with our audience is to enhance the words that we use when we are creating the speech. Great idea, now just exactly how can we go about doing that?
The Power Of The Words That You Use In Your Speech
So what might you be doing wrong when you create your speeches today? A lot of us use weak language, which detracts from our message. Another thing that a lot of us do is to end a thought with the phrase “or something like that” and talk about “various issues,” which ends up leaving our audience wondering what the “something” and “issues” were. If we can find a way to use strong, specific language, then it will add power and meaning to our message. Linguists estimate the average speaker uses only ½ to 1 or 2 percent of the total word possibilities and combinations available. What we need to understand is that as speakers when we limit our vocabulary, we diminish our effectiveness as well as our ability to describe a range of emotions and life experiences.
The good news for speakers is that English is a verb-rich language. In the U.S., speakers pride ourselves on taking action, which is reflected in our language. Action verbs energize our words and help maintain momentum and the audience’s interest in your speech. We need to avoid passive verbs that contain a form of the verb “to be” (like was and were); they weaken your message by taking energy out of the action. It has been recommended that we use more verbs than adjectives. This allows us to grab and hold the audience’s interest. Speakers can learn from good writers. What we want to do is to use the shortest, most concise way of saying something. When we do this it’s less likely to confuse your audience. Keep in mind that adjectives and adverbs add judgment and make your message less objective. We need to say exactly what we mean.
Using Words To Boost Your Next Speech
When you are creating your next speech, remember that most thoughts can be expressed in simple language. Generally this means in 25 words or fewer. More than that can confuse your audience about the subject and the action. Filler or fluff words like really, actually, basically and very end up cluttering your message with empty meaning. When you are outlining or practicing your speech, cut unnecessary adverbs, adjectives and overused words to tighten and improve your presentation. Try to choose adjectives carefully to help your audience imagine the action or description of an event or an object.
When you are trying to communicate with your audience, you will want to try to be specific. In order to do this you’ll want to avoid using words that are generalities – such as some, most, many, sometimes, sort of and kind of. These types of words leave your audience wondering who, what, where, when and how much. In addition, when you use so-called extreme words, like all, never, always, none, no one and everyone, your audience questions your authority to declare such absolute information. What you need to do instead of speaking in generalities or extremes, is to be specific. This will show that you have researched your topic and this will support your credibility. Your audience will appreciate the attention to detail that you are showing. The good news for speakers is that both buzzwords and clichés are comfortable speech habits. You can including trendy phrases in your conversations to show that you are up to date on world events, sports, politics, and fashion. However, overuse makes your speeches predictable and boring.
Speakers need to understand that they have resources that they can draw upon to help them in creating speeches that have effective words in them. Dictionaries and thesauruses are the ever popular resources to escape a word rut and improve your vocabulary. Because we are living in the 21st Century it is even easier to find the perfect word with phone apps and online sites. Using clear, concise and energetic language in your next speech will give your message power, conveying experiences that your audiences will appreciate and remember long after your speech is over.
What All Of This Means For You
As speakers we need to realize that when we are standing in front of an audience, we don’t have a lot of tools to work with. Up there it’s pretty much just going to be ourselves and our speech. This is why the speech that you create is so very important. Your speech is nothing but a collection of a group of words. That’s why the words that you choose to put into your speech are so very important in communicating the benefits of public speaking. How can we make sure that we’re picking the right words?
When we are creating a speech, we may be choosing words that are weak and leave our audience wondering what we are talking about. The English language has a lot of words in it and we probably only use a few of them. When we use action verbs in our speeches we can keep our audience’s attention. We do want to keep our speech language simple and remove filler words. We always want to be specific. We are permitted to use both buzzwords and clichés in our speeches. Don’t be afraid to look words up in either a dictionary or a thesauruses.
Words form the core of our message to our next audience. When we are creating our speech we need to view the words that we use as the colors that we use to create the image that we want to plant into our audience’s mind. The better our choice of words, the more vivid the image that we can create. Take the time to choose your words correctly. If you can accomplish this, then you will be able to deliver powerful speeches that make an impact on your audience.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: What’s the best way to tell if you words are making an impact on your audience?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!