Being able to express yourself clearly and get your point across coherently can be a huge benefit in a number of areas: work, friendships, family relations, etc.
I enrolled in Toastmasters several years ago to work on my public speaking skills for an old job I had and, while I was totally terrified, it was a really good experience and it definitely helped in a major way.
What is some good advice for expressing yourself clearly?
Let’s look at some tips from folks on AskReddit.
1. Higher learning.
I’m better at expressing how I feel now than when I was younger.
For me personally, formal higher education actually helped a lot.
Spending multiple hours a day hearing other people discuss and express relatively complex thoughts made it easier to find ways to express my own thoughts.
2. The right tone.
Tone is extremely important in conveying the message, as you can easily lose your listener if you sound pedantic, accusatory, or self-righteous.
If your tone undermines your intention, it may not matter which words you chose.
3. Read as much as you can.
Read. A lot.
It gives people a much better command of language and a broader library of ideas to draw from when expressing their own thoughts.
On the other hand, as Steve Martin said, “Some people have a way with words. Other people…not have way.”
4. Practice makes perfect.
Practice. Arguments help as well.
Debating skills are actually quite useful in being able to articulate what you’re feeling into actual words. It’s not uncommon for even well spoken people to fall apart when they are under pressure.
They can think of what to say before and after but when they’re under the gun they can’t spit it out.
5. It helps!
I’m still surprised at how much high school debating skills kind of pay off.
Jobs, interviews of course, and generally describing an issue or what I’m feeling.
6. Know your audience.
Make sure you use the right words for the right audience.
Not everyone is at the same level of comprehension, so knowing what works for which people is a huge hurdle to get over first.
7. For the introverts.
I am introvert, tried to force myself to be extrovert. Didn’t work. So after some time I realized few things:
– I can take time to collect my thoughts and answer as clearly as I want/can
– Less words are always better, if they convey the message clearly
This is very easy mindset to get into. It also doesn’t drain me because this is how I am. In my career I have always been offered management/leading role very early and I think this is the reason why.
My answers and directions make sense, are easy to understand and easy to follow (according to my bosses/coworkers).
8. Type it out.
If you make a habit of typing clearly, eloquently, and with proper grammar it will influence the way you think.
If you type like every letter is a Herculean effort, and your life depends on sending that text quickly, then that’s how you will express yourself generally as well.
Review everything you write, edit it, and don’t hit send or post until it says exactly what you mean. I guarantee that will make speaking eloquently much easier, as you will become used to forming crisp, clear thoughts.
You’ll also find yourself stopping and considering what you’re about to say before you say it. Also super helpful.
9. Deeeeeeep breaths.
Breathing helps a lot.
When I feel the tears welling behind my eyes, I stop speaking and breathe in and out deeply.
Taking a moment to pause allows your mind to clear even for a moment, and can help the tears from spilling over.
10. Short and sweet.
I engage only in subjects I’m familiar with.
Keep everything short and direct.
11. Food for thought.
• Learn new words. Words are tools and new tools help you do more things efficiently.
• Don’t assume anything. Explain what you mean without assuming the other person is gonna magically understand the paragraph behind the two sentences you say.
• You can’t expect people to understand you if you don’t understand yourself, talking has always been my superpower whether it’s to convince or to lie or compliment etc and this really helped me in my sales job. but the only time i struggle to find the right wording and most likely make a fool out of myself is when I don’t understand what im talking about or don’t really know what i want to begin with.
• People are different, I’m mostly talking about intelligence here, some people get what you mean a mile away and others don’t get it if you spoon fed the idea to them. Same goes with talking some people have talent for it and others don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dramatically improve yourself with practice.
• As a final note which you can take as food for thought, i’d like to share who talking feels to me. To me talking is like playing the piano, and choosing the right word or wording the sentence JUST RIGHT is like hitting the right note and it gives me such a dopamine rush especially if I’m trying to defend or convince.
12. Confidence is everything.
Also I took a public speaking class but if you’re not a confident person, it’s hard.
I had to work on that first.
13. Good stuff.
Here are some practical tips I’ve learned throughout the years:
Speak slowly and loosen up your voice. If you feel it tense in your throat, others will feel it tense in their ears.
Tell a story. Good communication is about telling a good story. All good stories have a beginning, middle, and an end. Have a point to what you’re saying and tie it all together for your audience.
Care about what you’re saying. The human connection is built on emotions and authenticity. To make an authentic connection, you have to allow yourself to be a little vulnerable by caring about what you’re saying
Know your audience. Tailor your message to fit the type of people who are listening because the way you speak, your word choices, and how confident you are all affect how a person hears you.
Less is more. People will fill in the blanks for you and usually, they will do a better job than if you were to try and over explain things to them. Keep your stories short and focused.
And finally, sometimes you’ll need to listen before you speak. Hearing someone out is the best way to start building a bridge of understanding and good communication.
14. Older and wiser.
The older I got it also allowed me to process my emotions in a more mature manner to convey my idea/opinion correctly.
Too often productive conversations get destroyed by people’s emotions or failure to remain calm while discussing different view points.
Do you have any pro tips about how to get your point across clearly to people?
If so, please fill us in in the comments.
We’d really appreciate it!