Do you have ideas you’re trying to convey to others, and you just can’t seem to express yourself?
Do you ever feel like you can’t even tell a story? You could be in the middle of telling a story, and you keep overexplaining and using way too many words. Or you never can get to the end, and you already forgot the moral?
Sometimes you’re in the middle of expressing yourself, it’s going awry, and then someone cuts you off to express their views? “What the heck?! I’ve just been interrupted while telling my rambling story. Oh, well, I guess I got saved.”
Then there are those folks who can express themselves quite well.
These folks have executive presence and an incredible verbal brand. They’re assertive, yet warm. They can tell stories, answer difficult questions, and know how to say “no” without hurting anyone’s feelings. They can express themselves during tense meetings, interviews, and on stage.
Don’t worry; they don’t have an extra gene that you don’t. People who express themselves well have the essential techniques necessary to get their point across well.
We’ll start with the basic techniques, and then we’ll delve deeper.
How to Express Yourself Better
People who can express themselves well don’t have a different gene; they have the techniques.
- Formulate your ideas in advance until you don’t need to anymore.
- Don’t overexplain & avoid redundancies.
- Speak in bullets.
- Don’t be afraid of the pause while speaking.
- Start with the bottom line & don’t use too many details.
- Be relaxed.
- Use a voice that’s warm & authoritative (not aggressive.)
These are the steps you’ll want to practice to get people loving your ideas and following your suggestions.
How to implement these techniques.
Formulate your ideas in advance until you don’t have to anymore. My suggestion is to record yourself or at least talk to yourself in the mirror.
The advantage of recording yourself is you can hear when you make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to become aware of your mistakes. It’s the only way you can get better.
You wouldn’t tell your tennis pro not to video record you because you don’t want to see your swing. You want to see your swing! You know that doing so will improve your game! And unless you have sponsors for your tennis games, improving your tennis won’t make you any money. But learning to express yourself better will. So let’s get back to it, shall we? Don’t make me come over there!
Learning to express yourself better is well worth the effort. Right now, you’re cringing listening to yourself talk (Best to not be subjective, but like a scientist.) But in a couple of weeks, people will be loving your ideas and following your suggestions.
Use pauses & speak in bullets.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news; nobody wants to listen to a long rambling story. (Don’t hate! You’re in this to express yourself well and have people love your stories and concepts and follow your call to action. So let’s break some eggs. Is that the expression?)
Be not afraid of the pause. Some people really hate the pause because they know it allows others to interrupt them. It gives them that space they’re looking for. Remember, if people are interrupting you frequently, it means you’re not speaking very clearly & concisely.
Use your pauses like parenthesis around your bullets. Formulate your ideas into a few bullets. Take out the non-essential words. Eliminate redundancy and then surround those bullets with pauses.
Expressing yourself in high-stakes situations.
Master the ability to express yourself in low-stakes situations first. Talking to yourself is the easiest; telling stories to your pets comes next. (Unless they’re very judgemental.) You’ll probably need to focus in these areas for a week or two.
Once you’ve mastered the low-stakes situations, move on to the medium-stakes ones. Maybe talking to a colleague or friend and speaking in friendly meetings.
All the while, you are recording yourself and seeing significant strides. And now you’re feeling proud! Good for you!
Express yourself using a warm & authoritative voice.
Your voice plays an enormous role in how people perceive you. It impacts your credibility. Once you learn to express yourself using a warm yet authoritative voice, you’ll have people eating out of the palm of your hand.
If you don’t want to influence others and express yourself well, definitely don’t take The Voice Spa.
All these influential, authoritative people you know have worked on their ability to express themselves well. They didn’t think it would magically happen, and they certainly didn’t put up with telling ineffective stories and not having people follow their call to action.
Go from rambling, filler word user to fluent speaker.
You can do this by measuring your success. If yesterday you used 15 filler words and non-essential words and today you only used 10 pat yourself on the back.
If last week you couldn’t get to the point but this week your stories are short & succinct, be proud!
Assess each skill minutely and expect incremental progress. I can’t say enough how you should be an objective scientist recording data.
How to express your opinions.
Now that we’ve gone and made every single topic political, expressing yourself becomes more challenging. Perhaps you mention how much you like cheese, and someone wants to blame you for climate change.
Or perhaps you did want to discuss something that may be inflammatory. You may want to start by addressing the things that you and your conversational partner have in common.
You can say, “You and I are very similar. We both feel really strongly about ___. We both want to make the world a better place. If we take politics out of the discussion, I think we can make some progress toward our goal. We don’t have to agree on everything we just have to keep our eyes on the end goal.”