To understand how to be articulate, it’s important to know what being articulate actually means. It’s not a fancy thing; it’s not an upperclass thing or only for people with multiple degrees. It doesn’t necessarily mean having the ability to speak in paragraphs or expound at length about astrophysics. Nor does being articulate require using big words. It means using the correct words to clearly express an idea — any idea, be it the fall of the Roman Empire or why you prefer blue cars. At its most basic, being articulate simply means being able to communicate well.
Understanding words and how they work is an essential part of the equation. Once you learn linguistic basics, the rest will happen automatically — just like buying nice pieces of clothing makes you a better dresser. The journey to being articulate is comprised of three legs: Vocabulary, Comprehension and Application.
Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood
Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now
Walter White in Breaking Bad
Another tip: don’t become hung up on speaking quickly and fluidly, either. “Um” and “er” are part of our natural speech and are, contrary to what you might think, somewhat essential to maintaining focus while talking. Some of the most articulate people in the world mutter those placeholders (and even other verbal tics such as “like” and “ya know”, called discourse markers while reaching for the perfect thought or word.
On the road to being articulate, the biggest favor you can do yourself is to simply listen. Listen to well-spoken people, sure, but listen to yourself too. It’ll ensure you choose your words carefully and appreciate your newfound silver tongue.
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