Learning to speak with authority and confidence can make you more successful in the workplace, and even help your dating life. Communicating with a trembling monotone voice can send the message that you lack confidence and adequate social skills. Although it can be difficult to develop strong communication skills, doing so can have a positive impact on both your business and personal interactions.

Think before you speak. Organizing your thoughts before speaking can reduce the amount of awkward pauses and verbal “hiccups." It can also eliminate the need to make excessive amounts of clarifying statements. Although it’s not possible to make an outline for impromptu dialogue, writing down your thoughts before planned discussions can improve your speaking prowess.

Use direct and concise language. It’s not necessary to use complex terminology to drive home important points. Sometimes using complicated words and sentence structures can cause more confusion than it explains. Avoid using “big words” to sound more educated because this can quickly backfire, unless you’re sure of their usage and pronunciations.

Vary your vocal tone. Express interest in what you’re saying so others will pay attention to you. Use inflection to add emphasis to key phrases. Raise and lower your pitch to express active emotion. Avoid blank stares that stem from being bored.

Pronounce words completely and correctly. Avoid chopping off the ends of words or running entire words together. Slow down when pronouncing difficult words to minimize mispronunciations. Practice your diction by recording yourself and analyzing the results. Don’t use regional dialect as an excuse to continue making pronunciation errors. Taking the time to correct deficiencies can enhance your communication confidence and ability.

Master your nonverbal communication skills. Understand that your body language also has an effect on how your verbal communication is interpreted. Speaking with poor nonverbal cues such as slumping your shoulders or scowling can detract from the effectiveness of your words. Stay in positive control of your body language to ensure your words are assessed correctly.

Tip

  • Practicing in front of a mirror can alert you to communication issues.

Tip

  • Avoid getting discouraged when trying to improve your verbal communication skills.