Nice and Easy Does It….Every Time!

Do you know that the best thing you can do to improve your verbal communication skills and increase your ability to be understood is FREE, EASY, and requires NO LESSONS?   It’s simple in concept …..take it easy, speak slower, and pause slightly between phrases and sentences.  People need time to process your words, and perhaps translate what you say in their heads before they really “hear” it.  They need time to do that.  

Give it to them.  Simple?  Maybe not so much…. changing habits and adopting a slower rate of speed takes awareness and discipline.  After all, you have been speaking a certain way your whole life.  And, when you are nervous during a presentation or important conversation, your speaking speed will increase, which makes understanding even
more difficult!

Remember…..It’s not a race to get to the end of the sentence.  There are no prizes for finishing fast.  It’s about improving  communication and understanding.   There are lots of prizes for that!  Start today to slow down and relax your speech.  You’ll see positive results soon.  Fewer times that you are asked to repeat. Fewer misunderstandings.   Fewer embarrassing moments.  Here are some proactive steps you can take to be better understood:
  • Ask your friends or trusted business relationships whether they think you speak very fast.  Record yourself in conversation or presentation with your phone and listen to yourself.  Is your speed making it hard to understand your individual words?  Do your sentences tend to run together?  Is it hard to hear where one word ends and the next one begins?  Be TRUTHFUL with yourself and imagine yourself as your own audience.
  • Keep aware of slowing down your speech.   Use a reminder device.  I always tell those I work with to find a yellow elastic band and put it on their wrist to serve as a visual and physical reminder (snap it when you are on the phone) to speak slower and pause often.  Think of it as a yellow traffic signal to SLOW DOWN.
  • Finish your words.  Don’t slide them together so that your sentence sounds like one long word.
  • Pause slightly between sentences and between complex phrases.  Give them time to process what you are saying.
Half the battle of better communication  is conquering your speed.  The next steps are to work on your pronunciation skills and any grammar challenges you may face.  Check in for other communication tips in upcoming  articles.