A common saying is that “it’s not about what you say; it’s about how you say.” Nothing could be truer in the case of speaking, especially public speaking, where a great emphasis is put on words deliberately to invoke strong emotions from the listeners. There are many exercises that can be practiced regularly to improve expression, some of which are discussed here.
Exercises on Increasing Expression
- Try to listen to native speakers and imbibe their usage and structure of words
- Speak with non-native speakers who understand but hesitate to speak English.
- Try to learn how to speak confidently, even with mistakes, and read text aloud.
- Talk in English over the phone with people; it will increase intonation abilities.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are common and absolutely normal.
- Study grammar so that supports the purpose of language, i.e., communication.
- Overcome fear of losing face. Take advantage of opportunities to use English to communicate with both native and proficient non-native speakers.
Tips to Remember
In the beginning, people might not always understand what you are saying. In these cases −
- Repeat things they didn’t understand.
- Use gestures
- Speak easier sentences, or say the same thing in a different manner.
- Give examples of what you are trying to say.
- Instead of using big words, use sentences to explain their meaning
There might be cases where you won’t understand what people are trying to say. In these cases −
- Skip structural words (e.g.- it, for, then) and grasp content words (pizza, go, lets, share)
- Try to get a basic idea and guess the meaning of the sentence
- In cases when you are confused, always reinstate the original statement with your guess. e.g. − “Did you mean…?”