Become a Better Communicator—Without Communicating

You don't have to be talking or listening to become a better communicator. For example, increasing your vocabulary will enhance your communication. I subscribe to the free Merriam Webster "Word of the Day" via email. The entry includes a definition, the word used in a sentence, and the history of the word as well as correct pronunciation. When you learn a new word, work it into your conversation. Find reasons to write the word or simply think about how to incorporate the new word into your speaking vocabulary. Any new word you can add will help you give a more accurate, vivid, and understandable meaning to your message. We have all had the experience of trying to think of just the right word;  this habit of adding new words will help you to do so.

            Develop a habit of thinking about a phone conversation or a discussion before it actually happens. Consider the words you may choose to use. Visualize the conversation in your mind. Think of how other people in the group may respond to your idea. Ask yourself, "What is the point I want to make?" and think of words that will help you accomplish your goal.

            Certainly actually speaking and listening are important ways to improve your communication, but these two approaches can improve your communication without actually communicating with someone else.

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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