Being articulate gives people the impression of a solid, full education and cultured mind; it will make people more likely to listen to you and to respect your intelligence. Whether you’re giving a presentation or trying to tell your best friends a funny story, if you make an effort to think before you speak and to be more clear and concise on a regular basis, then you will be the most articulate person in the room in no time.
Part 1 of 3: Sounding More Intelligent
1. Know your subject: Speak on matters where you are able to bring more clarity to others or help add to the discussion. Speaking from a desire to add something or just get your voice heard, will not add to your perceived level of articulateness. Let others speak about things that they are an expert in and add to that discussion through articulate questions. Do your research and know the alternative perspectives but be willing to quit sharing when you move outside your current knowledge.
If you don’t know your subject well but have to speak on it, then extensive research will help you sound like you know your stuff.
2. Think before you speak: This helps to eliminate the verbal pauses and may prevent you from saying something that does not make sense. It’s okay if this slows you down a bit. In fact, pausing before you give a real answer will make you look more thoughtful and intelligent than someone who just blurts out a string of nonsensical phrases as soon as a question is posed.
If someone asks you a question and you really want to think it through, don’t be afraid to say, “Come back to me in a minute. I need to gather my thoughts.” You will sound much more prepared after you have time to think.
3.Expand your vocabulary: Using a variety of words that mean that same thing creates more interest and color in your speech. If you do not understand the words you read, consult a dictionary or thesaurus. The easiest way to expand your vocabulary is to read, read, read. Knowing synonyms for words can be helpful, but you should make sure you use them correctly instead of using a word you’ve only ever seen in a dictionary aloud for the first time.
You can create vocabulary flashcards and quiz yourself. Make a goal of learning ten new words a week.
4. Use real words: Shun slangs and contractions. Instead of hi, use hello, instead of yeah, use yes. Never use huh, uh-huh unless in the context of a story or event….if you’re giving a formal or even semi-formal presentation, then it’s important to use intelligent, full words. Avoid too many contractions (say “I cannot” instead of “I can’t”) and speak in complete sentences as much as you can, unless you are not doing so for effect.
5. Use correct grammar: Study the proper uses of the words following words: I, me, him, his, he, no, not. They are commonly used incorrectly in cases such as double negatives and when listing people. When reiterating a fact you already stated, always say “as I said”, never, “like I said”. Here are some other tricks to know:
• You should say, “He and I were discussing…” instead of “Him and I were discussing…”
• You should say, “You can give your report to her or me,” instead of “You can give your report to her or I.”
• You should say, “Such as…” instead of “like…”
6. Exude confidence: If you want to sound articulate and intelligent, then you have to look confident when you deliver your message. Make eye contact with the audience, sound like you really mean what you say, and speak loudly enough for people to hear you. If you seem comfortable with your message and like you believe in your words, instead of second-guessing yourself, then people will be more likely to believe in it too.
Make your sentences sound firm and decisive. Don’t end your sentences with a question or with turning up your voice slightly, or you’ll sound like you’re constantly asking for affirmation.
7. Improve your posture: Your posture can go a long way in making you sound more intelligent. Stand up tall and avoid hunching over at all costs, whether you’re standing up, walking, or sitting down. Don’t cross your arms over your chest; keep them at your sides and use them to gesture. Elongate your neck slightly. Standing up tall will make your words sound more forceful and will make people believe that you know what you’re talking about even more.
8. Prepare — a lot: If you want to sound smart, then you can’t just spout out your latest ideas to a group of people or your close friends without thinking about how you’ll frame them in advance. What you have to do is prepare what you’re going to say, whether you’re giving a class presentation or talking to your girlfriend about a relationship issue. Rehearse what you have to say as much as you need to in order to feel comfortable about saying what you have to say.
It’s important to practice and rehearse, but it’s also important for what you say to sound natural. Therefore, you should know the material well enough to change things up if it becomes necessary.
To be continued……
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