You are probably wondering: why would anyone want to change the way they talk? You may not be aware of it, but the words you use and the way you talk are essential and can make a big difference on how people perceive you.

Increasing and Improving Your Vocabulary

The first thing that might be interesting to look into, when it comes to the way you speak, is enriching your vocabulary. Did you know that the average person knows approximately 10,000 words but typically only uses around 2000 on a daily basis? Just to compare, a college educated English teacher uses approximately 15,000 to 20,000 words! Now, your goal might not be to reach that many, but you could gain a lot by making your sentences more to the point. Your purpose is not to learn very complicated words and show them off; if your interlocutor doesn’t understand you, you will only come across as being pompous and this simply doesn’t make any sense… Why do we talk in the first place? We talk in order to communicate and for others to understand us. It would, however, make a world of a difference if you could express exactlywhat you are trying to say. People will perceive you as smart and witty. So why not try to increase the number of words you use thus improving the quality of your speech. To expand the number of words you use, there are quite a few things you can do. Below, you will find a few suggestions:

Read More

Get into the habit of reading every opportunity you get. You could start off reading the newspaper every day. It is a good idea to write down not only the new words you have learned, but also words that you already know, but seldom use. In this way you create a kind of “bank of words”, a rich vocabulary. The best way to understand a word is to use it in a sentence. Try to write two sentences using your new word and then find opportunities throughout the day to use them.

Try exercise books

There are also exercise books that can really help you to increase your “word bank”. I really recommend the books listed in my References section of the book. I have personally used them with my son. It was fun and creative and taught us how to decompose a word in order to understand it. These books also taught us the origins – etymology – of each word.

Take lessons: Find a Voice and Speech Coach!

Learn how to talk. Why don’t you make an appointment with a “Voice and Speech Coach.”This professional will teach you how to develop your vocal strength, breathe properly for an improved flow of speech and help you find added confidence when you are interacting with others.

How-to or self-help books

If the cost is an issue, there are amazing books that can really explain to you what to do in order to be more confident while speaking. Once again check the References section of the book for recommended readings. Indeed, speaking goes hand in hand with listening. If you want to get people to like you, listen to what they have to say with real interest and they will be telling everyone what a fantastic person you are! You could also make a list of all the topics you are interested in and improve the way you talk about them. This requires you to practice by choosing one topic or a related word and to talk about it for 60 seconds. Have fun practicing regularly and each time try to add more vocabulary: add new words that are more precise and to the point.

Use Images To Express What You Have To Say


Ever heard of the expression “a picture is worth 1000 words”? Try using more vivid imagery to express what you have to say as people relate more to images than to words. For example: “When I spoke in public I really wanted to be at ease and communicate my enthusiasm to the people that were around me. Instead, I felt lost. I like to use the image of a pebble. I was a pebble lost in the midst of thousands of other pebbles. That’s really how I felt. And then one day, life, like a wave, hit me in the face and it got me rolling, thinking and wondering. It was my wake-up call. I realized then that I had so much potential, so much to look forward to. Today I can say that I ROCKin life!” I could also have simply said it the following way: “I wanted to succeed, but I was scared. One day it hit me that I had so much potential.” I believe using imagery livens the whole picture I am trying to convey! What do you think?

Improve the way you speak in public

Read out loud

What are the benefits of reading out loud?

Although reading aloud usually slows you down, it does allow you to improve your reading skills. At the beginning it may feel awkward but as you get used to it you will improve and gain more confidence.

You will improve your diction. Practice reading with a clear voice at a normal pace, using intonation and emotion. Read as if you had an audience in front of you or as if you were in front of a class. Give it your all.

You will memorize better: When you read a text aloud, research has shown that you will retain more because you will be engaging both your speech and your hearing.

You will be more focused: since reading aloud requires your full attention, you will tend to be more focused on what you are doing.

You will value reading even more. When you read aloud you create a special connection between you and your book; reading then becomes a moment of sharing.

So, it might well be worth taking the time to grab a different kind of book every day and practice.

Take a course or look online to learn how to speak in public.

Now, this might not be your goal and let’s make things clear, sharing a conversation with a few people is not at all the same thing as taking up the floor and speaking in front of a big crowd. However, you might learn from watching videos or watching other people give speeches in real time: keep your eyes open for attitude, hand and arm gestures, and the way they talk: Do they articulate? Do they speak loud and clear? Is their voice warm? Are they smiling? What makes you want to keep on listening to them? As you may have understood, talking isn’t just talking. You have to BE present. When talking, make sure the person in front of you understands you, speak loud enough and articulate. Equally important is to know when to pause. Every once in a while, take a moment to breathe and then go on. Some people are hesitant to pause, because they fear their interlocutor will interrupt them and not allow them to finish what they were trying to say.

I personally spoke (and probably still do) too fast. However, it is not because I fear being interrupted. I tend to speak quickly because I want to hand over the conversation. I do not like being the center of attention so I will literally spit out everything I have to say, to give the floor to somebody else.

Whether you believe it or not, the way you speak tells a lot about you. Someone shy might speak in a low imperceptible tone of voice, and someone who is knowledgeable on the contrary will have a more passionate, vivid way of speaking. Someone who speaks in a slow and articulate way, with clarity and a smile on his face will come out as being confident, there is no doubt about that! So, observe yourself: How do you talk? What is your talk telling others about you?I have a tendency to speak too fast. However, it is not because I fear being interrupted. I tend to speak quickly because I want to hand over the conversation. I do not like being the center of attention, so I will literally pour out everything I have to say, to give the floor to somebody else. Whether you believe it or not, the way you speak tells a lot about you. Someone shy might speak in a low imperceptible tone of voice, and someone who is knowledgeable, on the contrary, will have a more passionate, vivid way of speaking. Someone who speaks in a slow and articulate way, with clarity and a smile on their face, will come off as confident, there is no doubt about that! So, observe yourself: How do you talk? What is the way you speak, telling others about you?

Take acting lessons

There is so much more to acting, than just simply standing up on stage and reciting your lines. Check out below a list of the many benefits of attending an acting class:

  • Build your self-confidence in ways you cannot even imagine
  • Get to know yourself better and how you react in different situations, what you are capable of doing or where your limit stands
  • Through teamwork, learn to be more supportive of others and see how your or someone else’s attitude, can affect an entire group
  • Learn to accept having other people look at you and probably judge you
  • Learn how to express things that you have been holding on to, inside. Many of us tend to bottle up what we feel. When acting, you are forced to express these emotions. It might help you in the future to find the courage to express how YOU feel in your own personal life
  • Overcome your fear of taking the floor. This can help you in a number of areas: job interviews, oral exams, talking to a stranger, when you wish to go up to someone you like, going to an audition…
  • Learn about your body language and how it expresses itself. See how an incline of the head can mean one thing and silence can mean another. See how crossing your arms can come across as aggressive or defensive and standing very close to someone you are talking to, can be invasive and uncomfortable.
  • Notice how people understand you better and discover different ways of getting your message through to others thanks to repetition, diction exercises, working on your intonation and discovering the use of your body language

Film yourself

A good idea would be to have someone film you while you are talking in order to listen to yourself afterwards. You probably won’t like your voice and many other things, but just keep practicing and you will get past this awkwardness. Try to focus on your ability to talk about a certain subject. And why not ask the person filming you what they are passionate about and listen to what they have to say about it. First of all, you would be taking the focus off yourself so you will eliminate the stress and you might just learn something new and increase your knowledge about a topic you know nothing about. You might want to look online and view various videos of people talking. Observe them, scrutinize their attitudes, listen to their intonations, pay attention to their vocabulary and learn!

Visualizing and Affirming

Visualize yourself in public, speaking in a confident way. Affirm throughout the day, how confident you are speaking in front of other people. Indeed, visualizing and the use of affirmations can do wonders to prepare you. It’s a good idea to take the time, quietly in your own home, to practice visualization and see yourself feeling comfortable, talking nonchalantly amid a crowd of people. This will help you the day you actually find yourself in such a situation. I love a technique in which you visualize yourself successfully doing or having what you wish. Simply place the image inside a dandelion seed or on a cloud and watch your wish fly away and trust the Universe to make things happen. Then during the day, if you have created a P.E.T., a Personal Empowering Tape listen to it or else repeat an affirmation. Both are real boosters when it comes to improving your self-confidence. Check out Change n° 05: Create Your Very OwnP.E.T. for more details. You can either download one from my website or create your very own from scratch. You might want to check out Change n° 18, Visualize. Below are a few affirmations you might want to try, but remember that an affirmation is something personal so try as much as possible to create your very own that reflects what YOU think, need and believe.

“When I speak, my words flow out easily and I radiate self-confidence.”

“I speak with confidence and ease!”

“I listen attentively and I speak with ease!”

“I take my time. I stop, breathe and choose my words wisely.”

Quit swear words(or what my son, Diego calls « Rage words »), for good!

There is nothing worse than seeing someone who looks charming, but whose language is vulgar. Decide, this very instant, to never, ever say a swear word again! Observe yourself and make a list of the words you habitually use and try to find substitutes for them that you can quickly replace with, in case your tongue twitches. A classical example is to replace “shit” with “shoot” and “f***” with “fudge”. But in the long run it would be better to get rid of these substitutes as well. Try to find one line that manifests your anger or the fact that you are aggravated, and use it. Make it your signature and decide that from now on, not one single swear word will come out of that mouth of yours. Examples: what or where on Earth…? How is that even possible? This cannot be happening to me? Incredible! Instead of saying “f*** you” just say: “I refuse to put up with this”, or “Oh please!”

Here you will find a list of common swear words and some alternatives! Ok! I have to admit some are hilarious!

 

Asshole: Ashcan, ashcake, hasbeen,

Bastard: Bogus! Bad Word!

Bullocks: bullfrog!

Bloody hell: Bad word! Blimey!

Bullshit: baloney! bull spit! bullfrog! Bb Sanders!

Cunt: kitty whiskers!

Damn: Darn! Drat! Dang!

Dickhead: Dead hick!

Fuck: Freak! Fudge! Fiddlesticks! Phooey!

Fuck you!: Yuck Fou! Pluck it!

God damn: Good night! (not sure about this one!)

Holy shit: Holy cow! Holy guacamole! Hot Diggity!

Jesus: Gee whiz! Golly!Jinkies! Cheese Whiz! Chiz!

Mother F*****: Milk and Cookies! (really???) Mother smucker!

Oh my god! Oh my goodness! oh my gosh! Golly! Gee whiz! Oh my Stars! Oh Man! Oh dear!

Piss off: get lost! Sip off!

Shit: shoot! shaitz! Six and two is eight! Shucks! Sugar! Sweet peas! Sugar puffs! Chiz!

Shut up!: Shut the front door!

Son of a bitch: Son of a gun! Son of a bucket! Son of a biscuit! son of a monkey! Sufferin’ Soketash! Shut the front door!

 

Other alternatives: for crying out loud! Peanut butter and Jelly! For Pete’s sake!

For more ideas (and a good laugh), check out « 101 Great Cuss / Swear words alternatives » and « Holy Rackafratz! 101 more funney swear/cuss word alternatives »

Improve your listening skills

In order to improve the way you talk, it’s important to understand that a big part of talking involves listening. Sometimes our conversations are casual and we are there just to chat and exchange anecdotes, but at other times a friend, a co-worker, our special someone, our children have something that’s weighing them down and are in need of a kind ear and some advice or a form of comfort. It’s often like a confession and just by being there and listening relieves them of the burden that is weighing on their chest. The fact that someone who cares is there, willing to listen and allowing them to express their sadness, their anger, to admit their mistakes or simply to express their opinion, can go a long way in helping them feel really good about themselves. You can, without expressing a single word, simply with your presence and sincerity make someone feel understood. So, read on as I explain to you the importance of listening and also how to become a good listener.

Recommended readings:

Look for handbooks that will help you increase your vocabulary. Check out the following two books:

  • Word Power Made Easyby Norman Lewis (The complete Handbook for building a Superior Vocabulary)
  • Word Smartby Adam Robinson (How to Build a More Educated Vocabulary, with more than 1400 words that you need to know)

Why improve your listening skills?

Just to get you motivated, I am listing a few reasons why you should improve your listening skills:

You will allow the speaker to express everything they have to say •You will make fewer mistakes. •You will get higher grades and will need less time to study because you will actually remember more •People will appreciate you more if you let them have the spotlight. You will come out as being a sensitive person, someone who authentically cares •You will make the speaker feel like they are important •Your overall understanding of what people are saying will improve •It can be really annoying to have someone constantly interrupting you or speaking to someone who isn’t really listening or is fidgety.

How to become a good listener

Most people can be classified as “average listeners” but you can develop this skill to become an “amazing listener.” Decidethat from now on, that’s how you are going to be. Below are a few tips to help you. Keep in mind that nothing beats sincerity, an honest and true desire to listen to what others have to say.

Be more present. This means you will have to turn off your phone, ignore everything and the people around you and give your interlocutor your undivided attention.

Check your attitude: are you looking the other person in the eyes? How are you holding your arms? Are they crossed in front of you or are they relaxed? What about your body, is it turned in their direction or turned away? And finally, your legs, are they crossed in the direction of your interlocutor or away from them? You want to show that you are open to listening and that you care. So, as much as possible, face them.

Please don’t interrupt. Let the person finish their sentence and while they are talking, focus on what they are saying, and not on what youhave to say next.

Empathize. Listening means empathizing and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to really understand what they are going through as much as possible and without judging.

Become an observer. Throughout the day, spend some time silently observing what is going on around you. Observe people, their attitudes, the way they talk, and their facial expressions. Learn to read between the lines. Observe your interlocutor’s body language as well. What is their face and body expressing? And what about their tone. A person can be saying one thing, while their body is revealing the complete opposite. With practice you will see that a lot of information will come from the body parts that don’t do the talking.

Be real. It’s not an easy task to stay silent and focus all your attention on one person. At first, you might feel impatient or fidgety. This is normal but just remember, the speaker sees these signs as well. Try to have a reassuring and interested look on your face.

If you do partake in the conversation, make sure you don’t bring everything back to you. Why is it that we systematically need to share our own experience all the time? Let the speaker have his moment and allow them to be the center of attention.

Once you got the speaker talking, encourage them to go on and say everything they have to say. You can achieve this by using certain words like: “go on”, “yes”, “uh huh”.

No moralizing please or trying to show that you know what’s best or worse for them, as if you know it all. Sometimes people simply need to be heard. And remember we are all different: what may seem daunting to someone, might not be for you; if they are devastated, you both haven’t had the same life, so there is no way you can know for sure what they are feeling exactly.

Accept blanks. If your interlocutor has stopped talking and you see they are collecting their thoughts or searching for the correct word, allow this moment of silence between the two of you. You might want to encourage your interlocutor with a smile or an encouraging attitude.

Don’t be defensive. The speaker is talking about what THEY feel. You don’t necessarily see eye to eye. But they don’t have to see things YOUR way. Put your weapons down, breathe and accept the fact that this person in front of you is not you.

To finish, you might want to call and check on the person in the next few days just to see how they are doing and to show that you really care.

Talking and listening go hand in hand. If I had to sum this change up in a few words, I would tell you to slow down, take your time when you speak, but also make some time to really listen to others as well. In this fast-paced world, it’s essential to step back a bit and learn to focus, observe, calm down and be present.

You are probably wondering: why would anyone want to change the way they talk? You may not be aware of it, but the words you use and the way you talk are essential and can make a big difference on how people perceive you.

Increasing and Improving Your Vocabulary

The first thing that might be interesting to look into, when it comes to the way you speak, is enriching your vocabulary. Did you know that the average person knows approximately 10,000 words but typically only uses around 2000 on a daily basis? Just to compare, a college educated English teacher uses approximately 15,000 to 20,000 words! Now, your goal might not be to reach that many, but you could gain a lot by making your sentences more to the point. Your purpose is not to learn very complicated words and show them off; if your interlocutor doesn’t understand you, you will only come across as being pompous and this simply doesn’t make any sense… Why do we talk in the first place? We talk in order to communicate and for others to understand us. It would, however, make a world of a difference if you could express exactlywhat you are trying to say. People will perceive you as smart and witty. So why not try to increase the number of words you use thus improving the quality of your speech. To expand the number of words you use, there are quite a few things you can do. Below, you will find a few suggestions:

Read More

Get into the habit of reading every opportunity you get. You could start off reading the newspaper every day. It is a good idea to write down not only the new words you have learned, but also words that you already know, but seldom use. In this way you create a kind of “bank of words”, a rich vocabulary. The best way to understand a word is to use it in a sentence. Try to write two sentences using your new word and then find opportunities throughout the day to use them.

Try exercise books

There are also exercise books that can really help you to increase your “word bank”. I really recommend the books listed in my References section of the book. I have personally used them with my son. It was fun and creative and taught us how to decompose a word in order to understand it. These books also taught us the origins – etymology – of each word.

Take lessons: Find a Voice and Speech Coach!

Learn how to talk. Why don’t you make an appointment with a “Voice and Speech Coach.”This professional will teach you how to develop your vocal strength, breathe properly for an improved flow of speech and help you find added confidence when you are interacting with others.

How-to or self-help books

If the cost is an issue, there are amazing books that can really explain to you what to do in order to be more confident while speaking. Once again check the References section of the book for recommended readings. Indeed, speaking goes hand in hand with listening. If you want to get people to like you, listen to what they have to say with real interest and they will be telling everyone what a fantastic person you are! You could also make a list of all the topics you are interested in and improve the way you talk about them. This requires you to practice by choosing one topic or a related word and to talk about it for 60 seconds. Have fun practicing regularly and each time try to add more vocabulary: add new words that are more precise and to the point.

Use Images To Express What You Have To Say

Ever heard of the expression “a picture is worth 1000 words”? Try using more vivid imagery to express what you have to say as people relate more to images than to words. For example: “When I spoke in public I really wanted to be at ease and communicate my enthusiasm to the people that were around me. Instead, I felt lost. I like to use the image of a pebble. I was a pebble lost in the midst of thousands of other pebbles. That’s really how I felt. And then one day, life, like a wave, hit me in the face and it got me rolling, thinking and wondering. It was my wake-up call. I realized then that I had so much potential, so much to look forward to. Today I can say that I ROCKin life!” I could also have simply said it the following way: “I wanted to succeed, but I was scared. One day it hit me that I had so much potential.” I believe using imagery livens the whole picture I am trying to convey! What do you think?

Improve the way you speak in public

Read out loud

What are the benefits of reading out loud? Although reading aloud usually slows you down, it does allow you to improve your reading skills. At the beginning it may feel awkward but as you get used to it you will improve and gain more confidence. You will improve your diction. Practice reading with a clear voice at a normal pace, using intonation and emotion. Read as if you had an audience in front of you or as if you were in front of a class. Give it your all. You will memorize better: When you read a text aloud, research has shown that you will retain more because you will be engaging both your speech and your hearing. You will be more focused: since reading aloud requires your full attention, you will tend to be more focused on what you are doing. You will value reading even more. When you read aloud you create a special connection between you and your book; reading then becomes a moment of sharing. So, it might well be worth taking the time to grab a different kind of book every day and practice.

Take a course or look online to learn how to speak in public.

Now, this might not be your goal and let’s make things clear, sharing a conversation with a few people is not at all the same thing as taking up the floor and speaking in front of a big crowd. However, you might learn from watching videos or watching other people give speeches in real time: keep your eyes open for attitude, hand and arm gestures, and the way they talk: Do they articulate? Do they speak loud and clear? Is their voice warm? Are they smiling? What makes you want to keep on listening to them? As you may have understood, talking isn’t just talking. You have to BE present. When talking, make sure the person in front of you understands you, speak loud enough and articulate. Equally important is to know when to pause. Every once in a while, take a moment to breathe and then go on. Some people are hesitant to pause, because they fear their interlocutor will interrupt them and not allow them to finish what they were trying to say. I personally spoke (and probably still do) too fast. However, it is not because I fear being interrupted. I tend to speak quickly because I want to hand over the conversation. I do not like being the center of attention so I will literally spit out everything I have to say, to give the floor to somebody else. Whether you believe it or not, the way you speak tells a lot about you. Someone shy might speak in a low imperceptible tone of voice, and someone who is knowledgeable on the contrary will have a more passionate, vivid way of speaking. Someone who speaks in a slow and articulate way, with clarity and a smile on his face will come out as being confident, there is no doubt about that! So, observe yourself: How do you talk? What is your talk telling others about you?I have a tendency to speak too fast. However, it is not because I fear being interrupted. I tend to speak quickly because I want to hand over the conversation. I do not like being the center of attention, so I will literally pour out everything I have to say, to give the floor to somebody else. Whether you believe it or not, the way you speak tells a lot about you. Someone shy might speak in a low imperceptible tone of voice, and someone who is knowledgeable, on the contrary, will have a more passionate, vivid way of speaking. Someone who speaks in a slow and articulate way, with clarity and a smile on their face, will come off as confident, there is no doubt about that! So, observe yourself: How do you talk? What is the way you speak, telling others about you?

Take acting lessons

There is so much more to acting, than just simply standing up on stage and reciting your lines. Check out below a list of the many benefits of attending an acting class:
  • Build your self-confidence in ways you cannot even imagine
  • Get to know yourself better and how you react in different situations, what you are capable of doing or where your limit stands
  • Through teamwork, learn to be more supportive of others and see how your or someone else’s attitude, can affect an entire group
  • Learn to accept having other people look at you and probably judge you
  • Learn how to express things that you have been holding on to, inside. Many of us tend to bottle up what we feel. When acting, you are forced to express these emotions. It might help you in the future to find the courage to express how YOU feel in your own personal life
  • Overcome your fear of taking the floor. This can help you in a number of areas: job interviews, oral exams, talking to a stranger, when you wish to go up to someone you like, going to an audition…
  • Learn about your body language and how it expresses itself. See how an incline of the head can mean one thing and silence can mean another. See how crossing your arms can come across as aggressive or defensive and standing very close to someone you are talking to, can be invasive and uncomfortable.
  • Notice how people understand you better and discover different ways of getting your message through to others thanks to repetition, diction exercises, working on your intonation and discovering the use of your body language

Film yourself

A good idea would be to have someone film you while you are talking in order to listen to yourself afterwards. You probably won’t like your voice and many other things, but just keep practicing and you will get past this awkwardness. Try to focus on your ability to talk about a certain subject. And why not ask the person filming you what they are passionate about and listen to what they have to say about it. First of all, you would be taking the focus off yourself so you will eliminate the stress and you might just learn something new and increase your knowledge about a topic you know nothing about. You might want to look online and view various videos of people talking. Observe them, scrutinize their attitudes, listen to their intonations, pay attention to their vocabulary and learn!

Visualizing and Affirming

Visualize yourself in public, speaking in a confident way. Affirm throughout the day, how confident you are speaking in front of other people. Indeed, visualizing and the use of affirmations can do wonders to prepare you. It’s a good idea to take the time, quietly in your own home, to practice visualization and see yourself feeling comfortable, talking nonchalantly amid a crowd of people. This will help you the day you actually find yourself in such a situation. I love a technique in which you visualize yourself successfully doing or having what you wish. Simply place the image inside a dandelion seed or on a cloud and watch your wish fly away and trust the Universe to make things happen. Then during the day, if you have created a P.E.T., a Personal Empowering Tape listen to it or else repeat an affirmation. Both are real boosters when it comes to improving your self-confidence. Check out Change n° 05: Create Your Very OwnP.E.T. for more details. You can either download one from my website or create your very own from scratch. You might want to check out Change n° 18, Visualize. Below are a few affirmations you might want to try, but remember that an affirmation is something personal so try as much as possible to create your very own that reflects what YOU think, need and believe. “When I speak, my words flow out easily and I radiate self-confidence.” “I speak with confidence and ease!” “I listen attentively and I speak with ease!” “I take my time. I stop, breathe and choose my words wisely.”

Quit swear words(or what my son, Diego calls « Rage words »), for good!

There is nothing worse than seeing someone who looks charming, but whose language is vulgar. Decide, this very instant, to never, ever say a swear word again! Observe yourself and make a list of the words you habitually use and try to find substitutes for them that you can quickly replace with, in case your tongue twitches. A classical example is to replace “shit” with “shoot” and “f***” with “fudge”. But in the long run it would be better to get rid of these substitutes as well. Try to find one line that manifests your anger or the fact that you are aggravated, and use it. Make it your signature and decide that from now on, not one single swear word will come out of that mouth of yours. Examples: what or where on Earth…? How is that even possible? This cannot be happening to me? Incredible! Instead of saying “f*** you” just say: “I refuse to put up with this”, or “Oh please!” Here you will find a list of common swear words and some alternatives! Ok! I have to admit some are hilarious!   Asshole: Ashcan, ashcake, hasbeen, Bastard: Bogus! Bad Word! Bullocks: bullfrog! Bloody hell: Bad word! Blimey! Bullshit: baloney! bull spit! bullfrog! Bb Sanders! Cunt: kitty whiskers! Damn: Darn! Drat! Dang! Dickhead: Dead hick! Fuck: Freak! Fudge! Fiddlesticks! Phooey! Fuck you!: Yuck Fou! Pluck it! God damn: Good night! (not sure about this one!) Holy shit: Holy cow! Holy guacamole! Hot Diggity! Jesus: Gee whiz! Golly!Jinkies! Cheese Whiz! Chiz! Mother F*****: Milk and Cookies! (really???) Mother smucker! Oh my god! Oh my goodness! oh my gosh! Golly! Gee whiz! Oh my Stars! Oh Man! Oh dear! Piss off: get lost! Sip off! Shit: shoot! shaitz! Six and two is eight! Shucks! Sugar! Sweet peas! Sugar puffs! Chiz! Shut up!: Shut the front door! Son of a bitch: Son of a gun! Son of a bucket! Son of a biscuit! son of a monkey! Sufferin’ Soketash! Shut the front door!   Other alternatives: for crying out loud! Peanut butter and Jelly! For Pete’s sake! For more ideas (and a good laugh), check out « 101 Great Cuss / Swear words alternatives » and « Holy Rackafratz! 101 more funney swear/cuss word alternatives »

Improve your listening skills

In order to improve the way you talk, it’s important to understand that a big part of talking involves listening. Sometimes our conversations are casual and we are there just to chat and exchange anecdotes, but at other times a friend, a co-worker, our special someone, our children have something that’s weighing them down and are in need of a kind ear and some advice or a form of comfort. It’s often like a confession and just by being there and listening relieves them of the burden that is weighing on their chest. The fact that someone who cares is there, willing to listen and allowing them to express their sadness, their anger, to admit their mistakes or simply to express their opinion, can go a long way in helping them feel really good about themselves. You can, without expressing a single word, simply with your presence and sincerity make someone feel understood. So, read on as I explain to you the importance of listening and also how to become a good listener. Recommended readings: Look for handbooks that will help you increase your vocabulary. Check out the following two books:
  • Word Power Made Easyby Norman Lewis (The complete Handbook for building a Superior Vocabulary)
  • Word Smartby Adam Robinson (How to Build a More Educated Vocabulary, with more than 1400 words that you need to know)
Why improve your listening skills? Just to get you motivated, I am listing a few reasons why you should improve your listening skills: You will allow the speaker to express everything they have to say •You will make fewer mistakes. •You will get higher grades and will need less time to study because you will actually remember more •People will appreciate you more if you let them have the spotlight. You will come out as being a sensitive person, someone who authentically cares •You will make the speaker feel like they are important •Your overall understanding of what people are saying will improve •It can be really annoying to have someone constantly interrupting you or speaking to someone who isn’t really listening or is fidgety. How to become a good listener Most people can be classified as “average listeners” but you can develop this skill to become an “amazing listener.” Decidethat from now on, that’s how you are going to be. Below are a few tips to help you. Keep in mind that nothing beats sincerity, an honest and true desire to listen to what others have to say. Be more present. This means you will have to turn off your phone, ignore everything and the people around you and give your interlocutor your undivided attention. Check your attitude: are you looking the other person in the eyes? How are you holding your arms? Are they crossed in front of you or are they relaxed? What about your body, is it turned in their direction or turned away? And finally, your legs, are they crossed in the direction of your interlocutor or away from them? You want to show that you are open to listening and that you care. So, as much as possible, face them. Please don’t interrupt. Let the person finish their sentence and while they are talking, focus on what they are saying, and not on what youhave to say next. Empathize. Listening means empathizing and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to really understand what they are going through as much as possible and without judging. Become an observer. Throughout the day, spend some time silently observing what is going on around you. Observe people, their attitudes, the way they talk, and their facial expressions. Learn to read between the lines. Observe your interlocutor’s body language as well. What is their face and body expressing? And what about their tone. A person can be saying one thing, while their body is revealing the complete opposite. With practice you will see that a lot of information will come from the body parts that don’t do the talking. Be real. It’s not an easy task to stay silent and focus all your attention on one person. At first, you might feel impatient or fidgety. This is normal but just remember, the speaker sees these signs as well. Try to have a reassuring and interested look on your face. If you do partake in the conversation, make sure you don’t bring everything back to you. Why is it that we systematically need to share our own experience all the time? Let the speaker have his moment and allow them to be the center of attention. Once you got the speaker talking, encourage them to go on and say everything they have to say. You can achieve this by using certain words like: “go on”, “yes”, “uh huh”. No moralizing please or trying to show that you know what’s best or worse for them, as if you know it all. Sometimes people simply need to be heard. And remember we are all different: what may seem daunting to someone, might not be for you; if they are devastated, you both haven’t had the same life, so there is no way you can know for sure what they are feeling exactly. Accept blanks. If your interlocutor has stopped talking and you see they are collecting their thoughts or searching for the correct word, allow this moment of silence between the two of you. You might want to encourage your interlocutor with a smile or an encouraging attitude. Don’t be defensive. The speaker is talking about what THEY feel. You don’t necessarily see eye to eye. But they don’t have to see things YOUR way. Put your weapons down, breathe and accept the fact that this person in front of you is not you. To finish, you might want to call and check on the person in the next few days just to see how they are doing and to show that you really care. Talking and listening go hand in hand. If I had to sum this change up in a few words, I would tell you to slow down, take your time when you speak, but also make some time to really listen to others as well. In this fast-paced world, it’s essential to step back a bit and learn to focus, observe, calm down and be present.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. AffiliateLabz

    Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

    1. BB Henderson

      Thank you so much for your comment. So sorry for taking so long to reply. The last six months have been intense with the editing of my book. It is now published and I can now devote my time to my website.
      Once again many thanks for your comment!

  2. JameszeW

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    1. BB Henderson

      Thank you so much for your feedback. So sorry for such a late return. I was so busy with my editor getting my book ready for publishing that I had my priorities set on that single goal. My book is out on Amazon and I will thus be able to work on my website on a regular basis. Thank you once again for your kind words of encouragement.

  3. Hettie Haut

    You could certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

    1. Barbara Ratkoff

      Dear Hettie, Thank you so much for your feedback! That really made my day! This article is in fact part of my book entitled “Change”. It just came out two weeks ago on amazon. There are 60 changes in total and I tried my best to make them all as thorough as possible. There are changes to improve your self-esteem, your relationship with food, your relationship with your bady, to bring change at work and on your off time as well and a final chapter to help accept change when it’s painful. Now that the book is out, I will have more time to post articles on my website. Would love to have you come and visit again soon. Wishing you a great day! Barbara Ratkoff

  4. Elana Schnathorst

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    1. Barbara Ratkoff

      Thank you so much Elana. “Change the way you talk and listen” is an excerpt from my book, “Change”that has just come out on amazon and barnes and noble. In it I propose 60 changes and have tried to make each and every one of them as thorough as possible. Your message made my day! I will be posting on a more regular basis now that the book is out. I hope you will pop by once in a while. Wishing you a beautiful day. Barbara Ratkoff

  5. Katelin Kirchgessner

    Awesome post. I’m a normal visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I will be a regular visitor for a really long time.

    1. Barbara Ratkoff

      Thank you so much Katelin… now that my book “Change” is finally published on amazon, I will have more time to write articles and make posts on my page. Thank you for the feedback and the encouragements. Barbara Ratkoff

  6. Hedy Wigboldy

    First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Kudos!

    1. Barbara Ratkoff

      Hi Hedy, thank you so much for your feedback. You are right it is not always easy to write and depending on what we are going through it can be very challenging. I think we each have a time of day best suited for us to write. I prefer in the mornings but there are many night owls out there too. It might come as a surprise to you but I find it easy to concentrate in a café. I take my laptop, find myself a spot in a corner somewhere and get down to business. it seems as though at home there is always something to do and I tend to want to get them done before writing. I got into the habit of getting up and going to my little café: there, it’s just me, my cup of coffee and my writing. My book, entitled “Change” just came out on amazon and it is 479 pages long and I can say that most of them were written in my favorite coffee shop. Also, working with my boss was an eye opener for me. He’s a very important businessman where I live. He amazes me! when he arrives, he immediately gets down to business. I call him “secretly”, Mr Machine gun: the minute he walks into the office, he takes immediate action and fires in every direction. Observing him made me realize that it is a mindset: he doesn’t beat about the bush, and doesn’t waste time or find excuses. Often when I sit down, I tell myself… “if he can do it, without a doubt, so can I.” Wishing you the best of luck with your writing. Would love to read something you have written! Barbara Ratkoff

  7. Karyl Razo

    Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Wonderful. I am also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your effort.

    1. Barbara Ratkoff

      Dear Karyl,
      Thank you so much for your return. That made my day. Now that my book has come out, I will have more time to publish some articles.
      I wish you a very pleasant day.Please share your article(s) on the subject. Would love to read them as well.

  8. hiep dam

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article!
    It’s the little changes that produce the most important changes.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    1. Barbara Ratkoff

      Thank you so much for your return on the article! It means a lot to get some feedback.
      I will be publishing more articles soon and will keep you posted.
      I hope you are having a great day so far!
      Barbara Ratkoff

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