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Old 04-03-2012, 03:00 AM   #1
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Any tips on how to be more well-spoken?

I'm a CBC and since I grew up here I have no problems with English and can speak it fine. In fact, I think I'm pretty good. However, one thing I recently realized when preparing for interviews was that whenever I'm in a situation where I'm the one telling a story or giving an explanation (like in response to an interview question where you would most likely draw on some personal experience) I would have a hard time organizing my thoughts and making the sentence flow. Obviously, even if I use cue cards when preparing a lot of it still requires me to improvise and string coherent sentences together. This sucks for me because when this happens, it feels like I don't sound "intelligent" anymore. I know quite a bit of vocabulary and a good amount of idioms and expressions, but often times my mind draws a blank whenever I'm in a position where I am telling a story or explaining something, or even just giving my opinion on a particular topic. This is even more pronounced in pressure situations like if I'm explaining something to my manager or in a meeting at work. It sometimes happens when I'm talking to friends but to a much lesser degree.


I really want to feel more comfortable speaking from my own mind, especially when I don't have a script (or a teleprompter). I've been exposed to a lot of well-spoken people, in real life as well as on TV of course and I'm amazed at how well they put their words together in a sentence. Don't get me wrong, my situation isn't that dire. I definitely don't sound uneducated or anything when my "speaker's block" occurs but I definitely feel like there is room for improvement.

I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to be well-spoken? Yeah people say you should read, but read what? If you guys have any suggestions on books or any other methods that have helped you please share.

Thanks
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:02 AM   #2
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Meet some online gamers and use ventrilo? It helps your brain react and speak what u need to say, instead of saying ahhh's and ummm's.
Its all practice getting the words out smoooooooooooooth
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:15 AM   #3
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Sounds more like anxiety than an issue with your English.

Practice is what it takes...public speaking practice. Put yourself in as many of those uncomfortable situations as possible.

Obviously confidence is a big factor too. If you have a lack of confidence, figure out what causes it, and avoid those things pre-interview. Or do things/talk to people who inspire your confidence right before going.

Otherwise, Google standardized interview questions, and prepare good answers for all of them. Then you should be able to recite them correctly when asked. Preparation is pretty important.
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:27 AM   #4
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:28 AM   #5
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One comment I consistently receive from Professors, I have an excellent vocabulary. I have never played silly computer games or memorized cue cards, I do not have much faith either would significantly improve ones speech patterns. You need to start reading daily, even just 20 minutes before bed each night would be of significant benefit, RS does not count. Read material written with the skill level you would like to achieve in writing or speaking, whether that simply be the financial pages or sharp editorials or prose shouldn't matter much. Words, and patterns they are used in, will enter your mental lexicon and slowly integrate into your verbal and written speech patterns.

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Old 04-03-2012, 03:33 AM   #6
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sounds like you have public speaking issues and not vocabulary issues

you just need to put yourself out there more and speak publicly more often

force yourself to engage strangers in conversation that should help choose chicks to wring 2 birds with 1 stone
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:47 AM   #7
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:01 AM   #8
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no one is born to be a good speaker, even the best speaker or MC would need to sit down quitely and organize their thoughts before they present. Practice and more practice, then you will gain more confidence. Once you get comfortable speaking in front of people, then you will learn how to handle objections and audience's reactions.

The training manager at my work place taught people about sales interview is like story board telling. There's always a script, without a script your mind will jumping around with no control. Treat your audience as your friends, speak in a natural manner, and you need full control or full picture of your story. Watch a couple episodes of Russel Peters and you will see it's actually a script.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:52 AM   #9
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practing in front of mirror, to me wouldnt help because its a totally different feel.


you should practice by talking to random people or GIRLS... that would help you boost your confidence
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:08 AM   #10
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I was gonna suggest toastmaster but Maniac beat me to it. They do practice impromptu speeches, and prepared speeches every week.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:13 AM   #11
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Practice, practice, practice.

Improv classes and blind dates work like nothing else for learning to think quickly and communicate clearly.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:22 AM   #12
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MB's suggestion of improving one's lexicon is one that I subscribe to. Of course, make sure you aren't just reading romance novels, and talking about the interviewer's ample, heaving bosom.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:25 AM   #13
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practice for sure!

one thing is you might want to take your time, all good public speakers will speak at a pace they are comfortable with
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:27 AM   #14
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I personally think the best way to be a "smooth" talker is to practice arguing with people sounds stupid but works. Find a contraversial topic next time you hang out with friend..and just argue.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:04 AM   #15
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I personally think the best way to be a "smooth" talker is to practice arguing with people sounds stupid but works. Find a contraversial topic next time you hang out with friend..and just argue.
I like debating and arguing but people tend to avoid it, and when they get into one, they become ignorant and makes you look like the stupid one.

I think the OP needs to hang out with more public speakers. The people you hang out with has an affect on you on almost everything.

Sometimes it could be because you are trying to think up vocabularies to use in your sentences, and will suddenly go blank just because. Try to get use to vocabularies naturally, and don't force on it.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:13 AM   #16
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I went to a couple of meetings at school but they had the meetings way to early so I dropped out of the club. Still really good though. From what I saw they had a laid out plan for you to follow to help you improve.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:21 AM   #17
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This is what I do for interviews. Review the job description and try to think of questions you might be asked or what quality you have would want them to know.

I don't make cue cards or have a script but I review on what I want to say so it feels more natural.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:29 AM   #18
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:45 AM   #19
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Never be the smartest, or richest guy in the room. Depends on what you are looking to accomplish.

If you spend your time with people that talk poorly, then obviously that level of communication is acceptable. Therefore, you have no need to improve.

Same with people that want to make more money, but hang out with poor bums working at Wal-Mart. What tips are you going to pick up, if they are in worse financial shape than you?
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:59 AM   #20
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+1 for Toastmasters. Seriously helped my public speaking skills improve immensely.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:39 AM   #21
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In regards to preparing for interviews, practice your response to questions with someone. Have them ask you various questions, kind of like a practice interview, and reply. It will definitely help you organize your thoughts and when the time comes you will remember what to say. Another thing, have examples from work, school, life which can help make a good fit with the employer. For example if it's a team oriented role have examples of group projects where you've worked with an X number of people; and even have examples of issues that popped up in the group, and how they were resolved. Have examples for common questions such as: describe a time when you displayed leadership, or a time where you were not able to meet a certain deadline and what did you do?

If you need practice questions pm me
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:43 AM   #22
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I'm a CBC and since I grew up here I have no problems with English and can speak it fine. In fact, I think I'm pretty good. However, one thing I recently realized when preparing for interviews was that whenever I'm in a situation where I'm the one telling a story or giving an explanation (like in response to an interview question where you would most likely draw on some personal experience) I would have a hard time organizing my thoughts and making the sentence flow. Obviously, even if I use cue cards when preparing a lot of it still requires me to improvise and string coherent sentences together. This sucks for me because when this happens, it feels like I don't sound "intelligent" anymore. I know quite a bit of vocabulary and a good amount of idioms and expressions, but often times my mind draws a blank whenever I'm in a position where I am telling a story or explaining something, or even just giving my opinion on a particular topic. This is even more pronounced in pressure situations like if I'm explaining something to my manager or in a meeting at work. It sometimes happens when I'm talking to friends but to a much lesser degree.

I really want to feel more comfortable speaking from my own mind, especially when I don't have a script (or a teleprompter). I've been exposed to a lot of well-spoken people, in real life as well as on TV of course and I'm amazed at how well they put their words together in a sentence. Don't get me wrong, my situation isn't that dire. I definitely don't sound uneducated or anything when my "speaker's block" occurs but I definitely feel like there is room for improvement.

I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to be well-spoken? Yeah people say you should read, but read what? If you guys have any suggestions on books or any other methods that have helped you please share.

Thanks
Wow... pretty much everything you wrote above also fits me to a T. If I have time to formulate my thoughts, such as posting on forums or writing emails, I think I would come across as quite articulate. However, it's a completely different situation when it comes to thinking and speaking on the fly, such as having conversations in person, especially in more formal settings. This does have major ramifications in life, as I am a horrible interviewee. I've been with my current employer for more than two years now, but my interview went absolutely terribly. If it were not for my good fortune that I had someone with clout lobby very hard for them to give me a chance, I wouldn't be here. Of course, during those three months, it wasn't difficult to prove I was in fact very capable and articulate in writing, but usually the initial bad impression during the interview would close most doors.

I've thought about taking some courses on public speaking to try and help improve my oral linguistic skills, but have never actually gone about doing anything about it. Good for you on trying to take some action.

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One comment I consistently receive from Professors, I have an excellent vocabulary. I have never played silly computer games or memorized cue cards, I do not have much faith either would significantly improve ones speech patterns. You need to start reading daily, even just 20 minutes before bed each night would be of significant benefit, RS does not count. Read material written with the skill level you would like to achieve in writing, whether that simply be the financial pages or sharp editorials or prose shouldn't matter much. Words, and patterns they are used in, will enter your mental lexicon and slowly integrate into your verbal and written speech patterns.
I don't believe this is the solution to OP's (or my) issue. When I was younger, I used to read a lot, to the tune of a novel a night, and sometimes more. I would consider myself to also have a fairly extensive vocabulary... but this did not seem to have helped my ability to speak well. I would think having confidence and an extroverted personality would definitely help, but admittedly those traits are not my strong suits. I definitely am much more at ease and can get my thoughts out more succinctly when speaking with friends, but clam up in more formal situations.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:35 AM   #23
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as many have already mentioned... make an effort to carry friendly conversations with strangers when you have the chance.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:00 PM   #24
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RS Toastmasters group sign-up / meet?

I could really use some help with this too. I'm fairly good with writing but I could use improvement in spoken communication.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:01 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the responses so far

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindBomber View Post
One comment I consistently receive from Professors, I have an excellent vocabulary. I have never played silly computer games or memorized cue cards, I do not have much faith either would significantly improve ones speech patterns. You need to start reading daily, even just 20 minutes before bed each night would be of significant benefit, RS does not count. Read material written with the skill level you would like to achieve in writing, whether that simply be the financial pages or sharp editorials or prose shouldn't matter much. Words, and patterns they are used in, will enter your mental lexicon and slowly integrate into your verbal and written speech patterns.
Admittedly, reading (as a hobby) is something I've neglected since elementary so I'm definitely gonna spend more time reading. I agree with what you said about RS not counting lol, though I admit I'm amazed at how well some people on here express themselves (Noir, El Bastardo for example) and often take pointers from their posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InvisibleSoul View Post
Wow... pretty much everything you wrote above also fits me to a T. If I have time to formulate my thoughts, such as posting on forums or writing emails, I think I would come across as quite articulate. However, it's a completely different situation when it comes to thinking and speaking on the fly, such as having conversations in person, especially in more formal settings. This does have major ramifications in life, as I am a horrible interviewee. I've been with my current employer for more than two years now, but my interview went absolutely terribly. If it were not for my good fortune that I had someone with clout lobby very hard for them to give me a chance, I wouldn't be here. Of course, during those three months, it wasn't difficult to prove I was in fact very capable and articulate in writing, but usually the initial bad impression during the interview would close most doors.

I've thought about taking some courses on public speaking to try and help improve my oral linguistic skills, but have never actually gone about doing anything about it. Good for you on trying to take some action.



I don't believe this is the solution to OP's (or my) issue. When I was younger, I used to read a lot, to the tune of a novel a night, and sometimes more. I would consider myself to also have a fairly extensive vocabulary... but this did not seem to have helped my ability to speak well. I would think having confidence and an extroverted personality would definitely help, but admittedly those traits are not my strong suits. I definitely am much more at ease and can get my thoughts out more succinctly when speaking with friends, but clam up in more formal situations.
Wow you're right our situation is very similar. Just like you I used to read a lot when I was a kid (Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew (yes I read Nancy Drew too ), Encyclopedia Brown, and other novels like The Golden Compass/Subtle Knife/Amber Spyglass to name a few). Ever since I started high school though, the only reading I've done consisted of forums or random news articles.

I think I have a fairly extensive vocabulary as well. I can also understand 100% of everything I hear on TV, whether it's the news, politics, Stephen Colbert's satirical comments, etc. Hell, I understood 100% of George Carlin's Modern Man speech and all idioms used. The problem comes with coming up with some of these expressions on the fly (within reason of course, nobody likes a snob who uses big words all the time).

For the record I don't need help with interviews or anything anymore as I already have my career job. With that said, I do want to sound more intelligent at meetings and even in casual conversations and it's about time I started doing something about it.

Anyway I really appreciate the suggestions (and the PMs)!

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