If you want to be heard whenever you speak, you’ll need to be more articulate. Being articulate means you can properly voice out your thoughts and have them be understood by those you’re speaking to. It means being as efficient and understandable as possible with your words.
As you can imagine, having this trait will make you more of a sociable person. If people can understand you properly when you speak, you’ll be able to form connections better. You’ll befriend others more naturally.
It should then go without saying that this is a social skill you’ll want to have. Read on to know how to be more articulate so you can draw others in with your words.
Practice makes better
Nobody is perfect. However, you can get pretty close to that by practicing. Before you go out there to meet new people and converse with them, practice first.
Practice in front of a mirror. Speak to yourself as you would to another. It sounds silly, but it’s one of the best things you can do if you want to be more articulate.
If you have a story you want to tell, practice telling it in front of a mirror first. Use the tips you’ll read as you go along this article. For now, though, just keep the importance of practice in mind. You can do this immediately after reading this article.
Don’t use flowery words that add nothing to your point
Avoid trying hard to impress others by using “big” words. Those are good for writing, but they’re needless in conversations.
For example, don’t use the word “delectable” when describing an awesome meal when you can call it “delicious.” It’s much better for conversations and it avoids questions such as, “what does that mean?” Those will only hold the momentum of conversations
You especially shouldn’t use flowery words if they add nothing to your point. Others will see you as pretentious if you keep using them even though they’re irrelevant to what you were trying to say. Keep it simple and conversational. You have more pressing matters to be concerned about in your effort to be more articulate.
Do your best to avoid fillers
Fillers are killers when it comes to being articulate. Saying things such as “umm” or “uhh” should be avoided from now on if you want to be more articulate.
This can take some getting used to, especially if you’ve unknowingly done this for a while now. You’ll need to be mindful of the things you say to really avoid these fillers.
This is also why it’s good for you to practice speaking. As long as you know the gist of what you’re going to say, you’ll never feel the need to use fillers. This is because fillers are often used when you want to say something, but you’re still thinking about how you’re going to say them exactly.
Do your best to avoid them from now on. Eventually, this habit will slowly but surely die out for you.
Don’t rush when speaking
A lot of people make the mistake of speaking too fast when interacting with others. This can be due to anxiety or they simply believe this is the best way for them to get their points across. Avoid this at all costs.
Being articulate means being efficient with your words. It also means being as comprehensive as possible. Others will find it tough to understand you if you speak too fast.
Relax. Take deep breaths and speak slowly. Not too slow, mind you. Just make sure the pace is as normal as possible.
Always seek out conversations
It’s good to practice and read up on how to be more articulate. This is a very good first step to take. However, you’ll never be properly great at it if you don’t apply them in real life.
That said, make sure to seek out conversations. You don’t need to start with strangers immediately. You can simply make conversations with your friends, colleagues, and other people you already know.
Treat this as another form of practice. Do your best to be as articulate as you can when speaking to the people you already know. That way, you’ll be prepared for when you’ll socialize and speak with people you don’t know yet.
Enunciation is key when it comes to being articulate. This is how you can make sure others will understand everything you’re saying. Avoid mumbling your words. If there are syllables in the words you say that need to be enunciated so you can be understood more easily, do so.
Exercise proper breathing
Your ability to properly breathe directly affects your ability to articulate properly. This is another aspect of yourself you’ll need to become better at if you want to be more articulate. You’ll look silly if you run out of breath mid-sentence.
That said, start practicing proper breathing techniques. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. As you inhale, make sure your stomach is expanding. Keep this in mind from here on out. It will make speaking up easier for you. In turn, it will help you become more articulate in time.
Aside from talking properly, you must also know when to utilize pauses. Use them in between sentences. Use them before saying the main point you’re trying to say. This will make the way you speak more understandable and more nuanced. It’s both more pleasing to listen to and easier to understand.
Don’t make the pauses too long. This will backfire and make the conversation become awkward. At least two seconds is sufficient time for a pause.
You can also use these pauses to think about what you’re going to say next. It’s better to use pauses than to use fillers.
Be confident when speaking
One of the worst things you can be if you want to be more articulate is to be socially anxious. If you’re plagued by social anxiety, your voice will shake, you won’t be able to form your thoughts properly, and it will take you longer to respond.
If this is an issue you’re struggling with, be sure to deal with it first. Do your best to raise your confidence level. Do your best so that you won’t feel any anxiety or nervousness when it comes to speaking to strangers. No matter how much you practice at home, you’ll never be articulate by the time you face strangers if you remain socially anxious.
Be sure to refer to the other articles we have on social shyness and loneliness for this.
Use your body language
Aside from the words you use and how you say them, your body language can also have a hand in making you more articulate. Use your body to convey emotions or to highlight a point. For example, if you’re telling a story that should make others excited, make sure your body language is energetic. If the story is sad, maybe don’t move around so much.
Have your movements match the things you’re saying. Your goal is to be more comprehensible, after all. This will definitely help with that.
Learn how to set up stories properly
One of the ways you can be more articulate is to make sure you’re setting up your stories properly. The way you set up your story matters because it makes the point in the end, or the entire thing, much more understandable.
For example, if you’re telling a story about a funny incident that happened while you were at work, before you say what the funny incident is, build it up first. Start by saying what you were doing that led to the funny incident. Mention anyone who’s involved in that incident. Slowly sprinkle in hints as to what that funny incident is. These are important elements that set up that funny incident. It makes the point better. Others can see why that happened, who was involved when that happened, and how you felt when that happened.
You can do this with any story, whether a story is sad, happy, funny, or terrifying.
Avoid speaking in a monotone voice
Do your best to avoid speaking in a monotone voice. This is plain boring and it will make those who are listening to you lose interest. Make your voice as colorful as possible. Have it match with the story you’re trying to tell.
Use high tones and low tones on words to make sentences and stories more impactful. If it’s a happy story, use more high tones. If it’s a sad story, use more low tones. Regardless, just make sure your voice isn’t stuck on a single note.
Practice eye contact
You can also be more articulate and become more comprehensible if you maintain eye contact with those you’re speaking to. It will make you connect with them properly, and vice versa. This way, their attention is solely and you, and yours on them.
If making eye contact is something you’re uncomfortable with, start practicing now. You can make things easier for yourself by shifting between both eyes. You can also stare at the space between a person’s eyes. It will give the impression of eye contact without actually making it.
The best thing you can do is to not think about it at all. Just look at the person in the eyes as you’re speaking to them. Think no more or less of it. In time, you’ll learn to become more natural at this. You’ll do it more and more and you’ll think about it less and less.
Besides, it makes the process of being more articulate easier for you as well. When you’re able to properly connect with someone, speaking to them becomes easier. Being articulate in front of them comes more naturally.
Watch stand up routines, lectures, and speeches
Here’s a neat thing you can do as research: Watch stand-up routines, lectures, and speeches. See how these people speak. Notice how very little they use fillers and how easily understandable they are. Once you’ve watched enough of them, do your best to emulate them.
These speakers are professional. They practice speaking before they do in front of a large crowd. The way they speak should be the way you do in front of people. This will make you more articulate and more easily understood.
Just observe, take notes, and apply. This process can be very informative and entertaining. Be sure to make the most of it.
Don’t mention unnecessary details
When telling stories or anything else, make sure to only mention things that are relevant to what you’re saying. Avoid saying things that add nothing to your point. This drags out the conversation and it will make you look like a terrible conversationalist.
Take this advice to heart. The things you say don’t need to be long and drawn out for you to be more articulate. In fact, it’s the opposite of that. Being articulate means saying the fewest words possible while making the most sense. You can say fewer words if you omit unnecessary details.
Make sure your voice is loud and clear enough
Finally, if you want to be more articulate, make sure your voice has enough power to do so. You’ll need to make sure that your voice is loud and clear enough so that those who are listening to you are able to understand you properly. You can form your stories and sentences as properly as you can, but if your voice isn’t loud or clear enough, others still won’t understand a thing you’re saying.
The worst thing that will combat this is social anxiety. If you’re socially anxious, you’ll be too afraid to raise your voice so that you can be heard. As mentioned earlier, if this is the case for you, be sure to fix this first.
Keep this in mind. From now on, when you speak, employ a powerful voice that can be heard clearly. Your voice doesn’t need to be too loud, it just has to be loud and clear enough.
Being articulate is a trait socially adept people share. It’s something you’ll need to learn to so you can become more socially skilled. While this process sounds hard, you can most definitely make it happen for yourself as long as you remain wanting it.
Start practicing now and you can be more articulate in time. If the things you’ve read here aren’t enough for you yet, be sure to take the time to read our other articles regarding conversation techniques. A lot of articles there will also help you be more articulate. Good luck!