Have you ever been in a situation where you had a great idea, but you just couldn’t find the right words to say? Instead, you started talking gibberish, ended up embarrassing yourself, and failed to deliver the point you wanted.
Later, after the conversation had ended, you knew exactly what to say. Hmm, too late. If this sounds familiar to you, continue reading to find out how to express yourself clearly and concisely.
Why Is This Happening?
Every single sentence starts as an idea. Ideas, or things that we want to say, come randomly. They come in the form of words, images, flashes of memories, scents, music, and so on. They don’t come in order and they don’t have any structure.
When we talk, we translate this idea into a point that we want to deliver in the form of sentences. For the point to be easily understood by others, we need to put the idea into a structured sentence, which is what most of us usually fail to do. It’s just like putting puzzle pieces together.
So how can we learn to make a great meaningful sentence quickly in our head before we open our mouth to speak?
Read Anything You Can
Books, essays, articles, leaflets, magazines, comic books, posts, tweets. Anything. The purpose is to expand your vocabulary and learn how others make their sentences. By observing how other people express their thoughts, you’ll learn new ways of doing so.
My tip: Follow English speakers on social media and read their posts. You will learn new expressions they use, including slang, idioms, or phrasal verbs.
Learn Different Kinds of Expressions and Synonyms
Let’s have a look at some examples: Instead of ‘Thank you.’ you can say ‘I appreciate it.’ or ‘I can’t thank you enough.’ Instead of ‘It’s raining.’ you can say ‘It’s pouring.’ or ‘It’s raining cats and dogs.’ Instead of ‘I’m very hungry.’ try saying ‘I’m starving.’, and the list goes on.
Expressing something in a lot of different ways will help you engage your audience. Instead of saying the same expressions again and again, you can change the sentence structure and make it less monotonous. This way, your audience will not lose interest in you. Moreover, the more expressions you know the more probable some of them will pop up in your mind when you need them.
My tip: Use WordHippo (http://www.wordhippo.com) to find synonyms, antonyms, and words in context.
Start Using Your New Sentence Structures and Vocabulary
You’ve seen how other people do it. Now, it’s time for you to do it yourself. Before speaking try writing. Writing is a great way to train your mind to think clearly and concisely. By writing something, you will learn to:
- Put your ideas into well-structured sentences.
- Make a point without going in circles.
- Implement new vocabulary and expressions.
- Assemble your ideas to make a compact text.
Don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t need to start writing books and essays. Keep it short. Write a post, a tweet, or just a two-sentence observation. The purpose is to improve your thinking process.
Don’t Try to Sound Too Smart
In my experience, a lot of English learners think that by using complicated sentences and formal vocabulary they will sound like native speakers. In fact, it’s the other way around. When your conversation partner does not understand what you are talking about, you lost the point of having a conversation. Use simple words and short sentences that people would understand. Believe me, sometimes it’s much more complicated to explain a complex issue in a simple way.
What has helped you express your ideas clearly? Share it with me in the comments.
Do you want to hear more tips and tricks? Book your free session with me today.