I was only 16 years old when I knew I wanted to be a writer.

As a young girl, I was obsessed with words and grammar. I often study the written and spoken word of famous people to learn from them what not to do.

I’ve recently noticed I’ve been more in tune with my own voice.

To fully grasp the power of how you communicate, you have to see yourself in the way you speak. So here are 10 ways to better articulate:

Listening to what you say

To listen with your ears, not your mind. Listening to what someone is saying and asking follow-up questions are two very important ways to express your message in a more compelling manner.

“I’m so tired. I want to go to bed, but I have to take this call. Should I tell them I have to leave?”

Being clear, concise, and simple

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Being simple and clear can show your audience you care. People tend to like simple things and they take them very literally. If you want to communicate something complex and complicated, you must be able to communicate it in the simplest way possible.

See yourself in the world you are trying to communicate with. In this way, you will get a better understanding of what it is you are trying to say.

Don’t make it personal

Imagine you’re in the middle of a presentation for your family.

You want to impress them and let them know how smart and talented you are, but you don’t know if you can. Your mind is racing with what you could say next.

How can you best be honest without making it about you?

Make it about the audience. Try to empathize with the audience and let them know how you feel so they can sympathize with you.

Start with the most general reason for speaking. Why did you come to the presentation in the first place?

Do not try to be clever. The audience knows when you’re trying to be clever. If you are trying to be clever, they will notice and not like you.

Be open

Opening up is the best way to start a conversation. Open and honest is what people love most about the authentic communication we seek.

One way to be more open is to stop talking about yourself and your issues. Instead, ask questions and listen to your audience.

The best way to communicate is to speak the words of your audience. So if you don’t understand their issues or can’t relate to them, be sure to show them you empathize.

It’s okay to make mistakes

By mistakes I mean saying things out loud that you don’t mean. You shouldn’t apologize for that.

Instead, try to change your way of thinking and make a statement by saying the opposite out loud. You can say it in a lighthearted, humorous way, or maybe even a sassy, slightly sarcastic way.

You will learn more about yourself and your audience if you embrace these ideas.

Good communication doesn’t have to be difficult

Nothing about communication is easy, it takes hard work, dedication, and many hours of practice.

If you take a little time to improve how you express yourself, you will start to gain respect for your audience. Then, they will come to expect you to be credible and clear.

That will naturally increase your influence.

By improving yourself, your audience will naturally come to expect better of you and your message.

Ultimately, that is why you are here: to give back to your audience.

Ways to communicate effectively

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Communication isn’t all about articulation. It is about connecting to one another, it is about persuasion. 

There are some surefire ways of connecting with others. Here are some ideas.

Appeal to emotion

An emotional response is one of the best ways to communicate. People are likely to be more receptive to your message if they feel something and feel as though they can relate to the problem you are addressing.

Appeal to general rules

People often tend to focus on the main rules when communicating, so they may overlook the secondary rules.

Therefore, it is important to be conscious of these secondary rules, and to appeal to these rules to inspire people.

Appeal to our humanity

We are human and we make mistakes. Therefore, it is important to be aware that people are likely to respond to us more positively when we are in touch with our humanity.

Most of the time, people react to our thoughts, words, and feelings; therefore, it is important to acknowledge these feelings.

We can reassure people that we are on the same team and that we all want the same thing.

Do not belittle yourself

We should recognize that everyone is different. This means that every person thinks differently and interprets the world differently.

Our role as communicators is to recognize the unique way that people think and to make the best of the differences we have in our communication with others.

Avoid jargon

Jargon can limit communication, for example, when you speak of being busy, or not taking a break. Therefore, it is important to avoid jargon.

Do not tell the same story twice

People are more likely to pay attention to the most important part of the message. It is important to communicate to different audiences, for example, to professionals and customers.

Therefore, you should not repeat the same message to two different audiences.

Use metaphors to connect

“People sense metaphors and they understand metaphors.”

We can use metaphors to communicate complex messages to a more general audience. We can also use metaphors to help people to understand the world and themselves.