We use words all the time and rarely give them much thought. If you consider the power they can carry you may want to give them a little more attention.
Words can express love, give comfort and express joy. They convey sadness, hurt and jealousy. They can bring us together or tear us apart; cause war or make peace. The use of words can paint picture or deliver ultimate confusion.
Work on building your vocabulary and remember keep you work simple and easy to understand. Develop a stable of strong descriptive words. An excellent way to practice is to describe the setting you find yourself in, and the people or other living thing that are around you.
As speakers it is critical that we carefully craft the words that create the images that convey our message in a clear and concise way. For when we are live there is no retake or rewind. Once you say it you own it.
One great skill for all speakers is to always think 2 steps ahead. Actually, this is a valuable skill for anyone to practice in their own life. As a speaker, thinking ahead can keep you out of trouble and make speaking easier. For example, if you are going to speak at your company meeting, asking questions about the meeting, will help you think ahead. A question like, what is the size of the room? Or how many people are going to be there? Who are the participants and what is their main focus? Are you speaking before lunch and after lunch? One great tool to have is a checklist. We all know of checklists that help you remember things, such as your speech notes, special microphones or airplane tickets. However another type of checklist you can develop is one that will help you think ahead of any special circumstances or special problems. The more you can think ahead, the better you can plan for any unforeseen problems. This will make you a better speaker. Also if something does come up you will have more confidence in handing the problem.
Are you delivering the message that you want to deliver? Most people are literally clueless on the messages they deliver to others. We have a choice: of attracting people to us or repelling them away from us.
When we speak there is the message and the Meta message. Simply put, what is actually being said and received? For example let’s take two rather straight forward words “Great job.” The meaning of Great is ‘notable; remarkable; exceptionally outstanding’, and the meaning of job ‘a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation’.
Now let’s add some intonation and body gestures and we can change the words “Great job” from praise to rebuke. Say the phase “Great job” starting with high energy and open gesture you get one meaning. Work your way down to lower energy and more subdued gesture and you get a deceasing feel of “great job.” When I do this in a communication teaching session, I am able to control the majority of the audience’s emotions from a high to a low in 8 second or less.
With the change in voice and gestures you can change the meaning you are conveying. We do it all the time in our personal lives; however, when in front of an audience it takes practice to get it right. Put the time in to make sure your message is on target.