Whether giving a public presentation or simply discussing issues among your peers, the ability to articulately express with your thoughts and opinions is the key to clear communication. More than an expression of intelligence and a commanding vocabulary, articulate individuals exhibit verbal flexibility, quick thinking and eloquence. While articulation may be a natural gift for some individuals, the skill can be mastered through study and practice.
Expand Your Mind
Before you can learn how to say something well, you must first have something worth saying. Pay attention to people you admire for their verbal abilities and you’ll soon note that they are both well-informed and well-read. However, becoming more articulate doesn’t require you to become an expert on every topic. Narrow in on subjects and issues that are important to you and devote time to studying up on them. The more you know, the more you’ll have to say.
Explore the Other Side
When delving into controversial issues and subjects, be sure to spend some time reading up on the opposition. One key factor in becoming more articulate is being flexible in making points and counterpoints when engaging in debates. Articulate individuals are better able to respond to unexpected statements and opinions because they’ve taken the time to understand and respect their opponent's perspective.
Quick Thinking Training
Articulate people are often described as having a quick wit or an “answer for everything.” Having a ready response in an unexpected situation relies on a capacity to think on your feet. Develop and hone this skill through acting and improvisation theater classes that include interactive group activities and partner work. While improv exercises may be designed around humorous material, they test your ability to think fast.
Study Communication Techniques
Being articulate isn’t just about what you say, it’s also how you say it. Speech classes and debate clubs teach students and members the importance of cadence, purposeful pauses and body language. These courses and organizations are not reserved only for those honing public speaking skills; the valuable skills they teach are also beneficial for those working to be more articulate in private conversations.
Practice Through Preparation
At some point in everyone’s lives, a thought they wished they had expressed only crystalizes after a conversation is over. That’s because the passage of time allows people to replay conversations in their minds, in order to review what they did say and consider what they intended to say. Minimize these moments of missed opportunity with a little prep work. Before important presentations or conversations, write down the main points you’d like to make in an outline form or a bullet point list. For sensitive subjects, consider writing a letter to the individuals involved as a way to explore your own emotions regarding the issue at hand. Often this technique reveals thoughts and opinions you weren’t fully aware of yourself. Only when you fully understand your own viewpoint can you truly articulate it.