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Talk the Talk

Myrtis Smith

Do you know why toddlers throw temper tantrums? They are angry, they are frustrated, they want something, but they have a limited ability to verbally express themselves.

On the flipside, the most influential leaders in business and politics are successful because they know exactly what to say, how to say it and when to say it. They have an uncanny ability to paint a picture and persuade people to buy into their vision.

Unfortunately, most people are more like a toddler than they are a leader. Miscommunication runs rampant in our relationships and work environment. We know what we are thinking, but we aren't able to put those thoughts into words. We can't find the words that fit the emotion we are experiencing or the idea we want to convey. So we, as adults throw our own version of a temper tantrum using the silent treatment, insults or resentment. Most of us can't find the right words, because our communication skills are too limited.

Here are 5 ways to improve your communication skills:

1. Read more. Fiction, biographies, magazines, newspapers, just about anything. You will be able to pick up new words and see them naturally used in context.

2. Speak slower. Give your mind time to search for the appropriate word and use it at the right time. Have you ever had the experience where you were babbling on and on not quite saying what you mean, only later to have the right words come to you? The words will come to you when create the space for that to happen.

3. Learn a new word everyday. There are calendars, websites, and newsletters that have word-a-day programs. Pick up a new word every morning and commit to use it several times throughout your day.

4. Learn of the power of distinctions. Distinctions are subtitles of language, that when used correctly give your words more punch. There is a distinction between power and strength, between respond and react, and between fulfilled and satisfied. The differences are subtle, but they do exist. Using the right word in the right situation will have an impact on how your message is received.

5. Study great communicators. Use the tape player in your car to create a university on wheels. Listen to some of the books on tape put out by business leaders and public speakers. Notice their word choices, their sentence structures, their use of humor. Emulate their style as you begin to create your own.

It is not difficult to become a better communicator. Take advantage of the many resources available to help you in that quest.

About the author:
Myrtis Smith is a personal coach. She works with people who are undergoing a career change. Sign up for her free newsletter Change Now! at or send an email to Premeditated Life .......because life doesn't just happen!

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