Public speaking can be an intimidating experience on its own, but feeling like you have an inferior vocabulary can make things worse. Expanding your vocabulary will have a positive effect on more than just your public speaking and speech writing; it will also improve your written and oral communication skills and help you express yourself. If you want to improve your vocabulary for public speaking, dedicate yourself to learning new words on a constant basis and be sure to write them down.
Make a regular commitment. If you want to improve your vocabulary, for public speaking or any other reason, make time for it daily or weekly. Schedule “vocabulary appointments” when you reserve time in your day specifically for learning and using new words.
Read. People rarely make time to read anymore, even though reading is proved to increase your vocabulary. Turn reading into a habit by making regular time in your schedule, such as during your lunch hour or before you go to bed. Underline new words.
Keep a vocabulary notebook. You may remember these from elementary school, but they can be useful in your adult life as well. Every time you learn a new word, write it down in your notebook. Include the definition, part of speech, usage, synonyms and antonyms. Write your own sentences with each word in your vocabulary notebook.
Learn the most common words associated with public speaking. When improving your vocabulary for public speaking, it is probably a good idea to be familiar with terms that describe public speaking itself. Familiarize yourself with terms such as props, visuals, brainstorming, extemporaneous and nonverbal communication.
Watch videos of public speakers or read famous speeches and write down vocabulary words. If you really want to improve your public speaking vocabulary, learn from the best. You can watch videos of speeches and presentations online, or read famous speeches from history. Note your favorite words along with new words in your vocabulary notebook and think about how you might use them at your next public speaking event.
Use a thesaurus after writing your speech or presentation. We often have a tendency to reuse the same vocabulary words, particularly in a professional context. Once you have composed your primary text, sit down with a thesaurus and discover some of the new terms for words you already know. Write the synonyms in your vocabulary notebook, and replace some of the words in your text with synonyms to change it up a little.
Sophie Southern has been a freelance writer since 2004. Her writing has been featured in "JPG" magazine and on Zlio.com. Southern holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the School of Visual Arts.