Did You Say What You Meant

Single syllable words are useful when telling stories

Pronouncing some English words can also be tough. There are so many different ways English words sound even good speakers sometimes have trouble with their diction and pronunciation. It is frustrating when you know you have used the right word to express what you wanted to say only to find yourself constantly asked to repeat yourself. In private conversations, you can explain what you meant or correct yourself; however, when facing an audience, you want to make sure you do your homework to avoid interruptions to your flow and delivery.

When delivering a speech or presentation, you have one shot at getting it right. Right or wrong, you have to move on; in spite of any “Icey” steers or puzzled looks, you might receive from your audience. Although it may sound like the obvious, to avoid those types of experiences, speakers should choose their words carefully. Speakers should be very clear about the meaning of each word they select. Speakers should also take time to practice the pronunciation of every word they want to use. Single syllable words are useful when telling stories. Use them. To see samples of how effective they can be when used creatively, Google Graceguts, “A story in 100-syllable words” and look at the examples of the stories in 100 one-syllable words written, without repeating a single word. Each story paints a picture with words we use in our everyday communication.

As we speak, we should keep in mind; words by themselves seldom carry meaning. The meaning of words become clearer when used in a paragraph or sentence. As you string words together, try thinking about the underlying rhythm or beat, you are creating to develop patterns of language. Focus on the sound patterns you want your audience to tune into as they listen to your message. Training yourself to produce those sounds you desire takes practice, sounds convey feelings. Think of the mood you wish to create with the sound you want to produce. To express those moods and emotions to your audience with confidence, you must work on building your vocabulary and grammar skills also. Recording and listening to yourself are also essential.

Recently in a Q & A session, an ESL student – Students studying and speaking “English as a Second Language.” asked if I could recommend a resource on the Web to help with the challenges of becoming better at speaking the English language. One of the best resources recommended to me many years ago was the “Student Guide” a website still available at – http://www.studentguide.org. Take a look at the “43 Excellent ESL Resources for Students” – Also the – Web Site of Professor Paul Brian – where you will find a list of common errors in English usage. I have found these sites to be particularly useful not only to for ESL students but to all speakers of the English language. It is my hope this post will help you to say what you meant to say when you said what you meant.

Author: HenryOMiller

Henry joined Toastmaster in March of 1997. He is presently a member of five clubs in the Santa Cruz and San Jose area. Henry is an executive speech coach, humorist, and speechwriter. He is also a musician and a lyricist‚Äč who likes to approaches his speechwriting similar to his approach to songwriting.