When our words are simple and repetitive, people will likely regard us as simple and repetitive. When our words have depth and nuance, people will usually perceive us as having depth and nuance. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for sounding more intelligent.
1. A strong vocabulary is always impressive.
Speech can become lazy and compromised if we don’t remain diligent. For example, the phrase, “I could care less,” is often substituted for the more appropriate phrase, “I couldn’t care less.”
You will sound more intelligent when you subscribe to an e-mail service that sends you a new vocabulary word every day. Most of the online dictionaries do this. To practice my word-of-the-day, I called my brother Rob.
“How’s it going, Rob?” I asked.
“Great,” Rob said. “I went to a seminar on Monday and learned a lot.”
“I’m glad you’re going to seminars. That’s lifelong learning, you know. That’s how you become erudite.”
Rob said, “That’s the word-of-the-day, isn’t it?”
“What’s it mean?”
“Thanks for calling, Mike.”
“You’re welcome, Rob.”
2. Use specific words to sound articulate.
My Dad pointed out how often we use the word, “basically.” People who use the word “basically” sometimes use the word to “dumb down” the message for the listener, as if to imply that the listener couldn’t possibly grasp the point if it were relayed in specific terms. “Basically” is an extraneous word in that it can be left out of most sentences without changing the meaning of the sentence. For example: Basically, this topic offers ideas on sounding intelligent.
3. Know what you’re saying and they will, too.
It’s fascinating how many people insert the question, “Do you know what I’m saying?” into their speech. The question, “Do you know what I’m saying?” suggests that the speaker doubts his own ability to communicate clearly. Self-doubt will not help you sound intelligent.
4. Edit your speech.
There are many words in the American English speech pattern that do not enrich the message or complement the speaker. Years ago, John Lennon noted that the word “just” is an empty word that doesn’t offer added meaning. Count how many times you hear the word “really” in a day. Also, listen for people to say, “You’re kidding,” in response to a person who obviously isn’t.
5. Pause before speaking.
You can sound more intelligent by pausing a second or two before speaking. Former President Clinton was a master at hesitation. He would pause, hold up his relaxed fist, bite his lower lip, and then speak. Clinton’s pause was very effective because it helped him sound intelligent even when he was doing stupid things.
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