Have you ever been in a conversation with a person who genuinely sounds like they may be the smartest individual you have ever met?
Their choice of words is perfect, everything flows effortlessly, and they have that special something that makes it impossible to stop listening to what they have to say!
At that moment, you were probably impressed. The very next second, you started to wonder:
How on Earth do they do it?
You probably promised yourself that you would do your best to learn how to be eloquent. However, it would be best if you had a place to start.
In today’s article, we will be covering the most practical tips you can implement today to:
- sound smart,
- become better at storytelling,
- show off the quiet confidence that comes with sounding intelligent.
Let’s get into it!
What does it mean to be eloquent?
An eloquent person can express their thoughts clearly and fluently, usually through speech. Simply put, eloquent people have a unique way with words.
Several qualities make this possible:
- a rich but clear and understandable vocabulary,
- great public speaking skills,
- proper pronunciation and tempo when speaking,
- confidence and practice.
When you add all of these traits together, you get a person who can express the ideas in their head successfully, which is a powerful skill to have.
They have the ability to sound smart, even if they are not the most intelligent person in the room. On the other hand, many incredibly smart people have trouble expressing their thoughts properly. As a result, they leave an entirely different impression on people.
Appearances and first impressions matter, and you want yours to shine. Let’s get into the tips that can help you sound more articulate each time you speak!
Tip #1 – Keep it simple.
Some people believe that long sentences and complicated ideas are what eloquence is all about. Additionally, they may spend months learning difficult words in the dictionary to sound smarter.
If you are in this group, your first step needs to be to change your thinking.
The use of difficult vocabulary or long sentences will not make you sound like an educated and knowledgeable person. It will probably have the following effects:
- Most people will have trouble understanding you.
- You will look and sound pretentious and arrogant.
- People will start to avoid communicating with you.
As you can see, that is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.
There is a time and place for new words and flashy adjectives. Finding the appropriate moments is the trick. Most of the time, you will want to keep your sentences short, your thoughts clear, and your speech understandable.
Tip #2 – Hear yourself speak.
How will you ever know what areas you need to improve on if you never hear yourself speak?
For this reason, you need to record and listen to yourself objectively. You can use your phone to record a casual conversation with a friend that would be okay with this.
Later, you can hear it and analyze every bit of the conversation to get familiar with the loopholes in your speech.
For instance, look for monotonous sentences, vague thoughts, repeated and filler words, jargon in speech, etc. Make sure to note your tone, pauses, and every bit of non-verbal communication you can pick up from a recording.
The only thing left to do is to note what could use polishing and get down to work!
Tip #3 – Less could be more.
You must have heard of the common phrase we are referencing in the name of this tip. It fits perfectly when it comes to learning how to be more eloquent!
Remember that emphasizing every sentence, dragging the conversation, or filling it with empty words will only make you sound bland and boring.
What should you do instead?
Use as few words as possible to communicate your message successfully.
Pay attention to the sentence above! Your goal is to communicate effectively. That is why this does not mean you should always race to end your sentences or rush through interesting stories.
The idea is to keep your listeners engaged and let them enjoy the story, but only for as long as they can stay focused and invested in it.
We know that sounds hard to do. That’s because it is!
However, don’t worry – here are some quick ways on how to implement this tip:
- Avoid using filler words or dragging your sentences for too long. Form the thought in your head and then express it fluently.
- Put your listeners first. Pay attention to their facial expressions. Are they still paying attention? Is their look drifting away from you? These could be the signs that you are losing them.
- Don’t emphasize every other word in your sentences. Put special attention on only truly important segments of your story.
Here is a quick exercise you can do right away!
- Think of your favorite story that you love to tell your friends.
- Now, remember the way you usually tell it. How do you start? What parts do you explain in-depth? Which do you skip over a bit faster?
- Write the entire story down so that it resembles the version you always tell as closely as possible.
- Grab another piece of paper and try to shorten it down as much as you can. Remove some unnecessary transitions, filler explanations, and anything else you can do without.
The goal of this exercise is to maintain the same effect that your amazing story has, while keeping it concise and straight to the point.
It also shows you that you don’t always have to talk for hours to get your point across. Communication is all about efficiency, and sometimes – less is more.
Tip #4 – Work on your body language.
We can hear a few complaints already – what does body language have to do with being eloquent and sounding smart?
Most people fail to realize that it is not all about the language. Rather, it would be best if you put the same effort into working on both your verbal and non-verbal communication.
Other people can notice whether you are confident or not way before you begin speaking. Therefore, here is a quick mental checklist of subtle cues to pay attention to:
- How is your posture? Keep your back straight and your shoulders down and back. Stand (or sit) tall.
- What are you doing with your head and neck? Instead of looking down, lift your chin up gently and keep your head upright. This is incredibly important, especially when you are speaking.
- How are you breathing? Take longer, deeper breaths and try to relax. Observe the situation around you and do your best to feel as comfortable as possible.
- Are you smiling? While you shouldn’t keep a fake smile on your face, it is important to look positive and open to communication. Grumpy people don’t leave great first impressions.
- What are your arms doing? If they are crossed, make sure to uncross them and keep an open posture.
Now, these are just some simple guidelines that can help you out. However, they are incredibly effective because you can implement them right away!
Let’s keep going.
Tip #5 – Speak with conviction.
The way you speak tells a lot about the content of your speech too. Sounding confused or unsure about what you are saying sends mixed signals to people around you.
If you don’t have a particular opinion on something or have no knowledge about a certain topic – listen to what others have to say instead of talking. Trying to make a point when you don’t have anything good to say is a huge mistake you could be making.
Make clear, confident, and direct statements without dodging around the point. Your opinion is valuable, and you should deliver it to others in such a way.
Tip #6 – Check your pace.
Most people speak too fast or too slow. At times, the speed of your delivery can make your listeners feel a certain way:
- If you are speaking too fast, they may start to feel anxious because you are rushing. Also, they may become confused because what you are saying is hard to follow.
- If you are speaking too slow, they may get bored and stop listening to you.
How can you take note of your pace and look for opportunities to improve?
Once again, it would help if you tried recording yourself. Listen to how fast you speak, the clarity of what you are trying to say, your sentence structure, etc.
It is hard to say exactly how fast you should talk. It can vary depending on the type of conversation, your story, your listeners, and many other factors.
The speech pace that is considered conversational is somewhere between 140 and 170 words per minute.
Tip #7 – Read regularly.
Reading is the most common advice for people who are trying to learn how to be eloquent. There is a good reason for that.
Exploring various genres (both fiction and non-fiction) can help you come across many new words, ideas and acquire more general knowledge.
It is a simple piece of advice, but it works.
Thus, find some time in your schedule for daily reading. Even as little as ten minutes a day can make a big difference over the long run. However, you should aim for at least 30-60 minutes of daily reading once you develop the habit.
Books will help you enhance your vocabulary, improve your sentence structure, help you deal with grammatical errors, and make you a knowledgeable person over time.
Tip #8 – Use transition words.
We often need some time to recollect our thoughts while speaking. It is natural and nothing to worry about since it has to happen from to time.
An important difference between eloquent speakers and their less successful counterparts is how they fill the gaps in their speech. Transitioning seamlessly from one sentence to the next is an important skill that has the power to improve your communication skills noticeably.
As you are aware, using filler words is usually considered a bad practice. The alternative is using transition words that actually serve a purpose. Unlike filler words that mostly don’t have any meaning, transition words improve the clarity of your speech.
You should avoid often saying things like:
- ahh, etc.
Instead, you should recollect your thoughts and transition to the next sentence with words such as:
- this is to say,
- let’s suppose, etc.
It is important not to overuse any of these as well, which would defeat their purpose and make them a more fancy version of filler words.
Tip #9 – Remain calm and confident.
Lastly, a great speaker is a confident speaker, even if the conversation is just between you and your best friend.
Staying calm, collected, and having a confident attitude is the key to conveying your viewpoint on certain topics properly. It sends a strong message that you know what you are talking about, which is why your opinion matters.
Of course, confidence is not something that you can build overnight. Rather, it will naturally come as you expand your vocabulary, start practicing more often and begin noticing the positive changes in your speech.
Now, as always, we would like to hear from you.
Which of the tips from our list do you feel could make the biggest difference in the way you speak?
Let us know by leaving a comment down below.