a). Word choice

Words are important because they must communicate and convey our message succinctly. Our word choice can mean the difference between a powerful, captivating and influential exchange, and a weak, disempowering and ineffective one.  To create the desired response, consider the following guidelines:

  • Action Words

Action words are positive, powerful and directive, and should be used abundantly. Action words include: Communicated, conveyed, directed, listened, persuaded, arranged, handled and improved.

  • Filler Words

Words used to fill in lapses in thinking how to articulate something, and should be minimized. E.g, Anyways, you know how when you are, like, really nervous, and you, ummm, find it hard to verbalize and stuff, and you say silly things that, kind of, make you sound, like, kind of, unprofessional and maybe, like, inarticulate?

This may seem funny, but annoying verbal mannerisms such as those used in the above example, “you know,” “like,” “in other words,” “kind of,” “ummm,”and “anyways,” should be avoided at all costs. Besides sounding unprofessional, they also distract attention from the message. 

  • Undermining Words

Words and phrases such as ‘I think,’ ‘I hope,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘sort of,’ ‘perhaps,’ ‘I guess,’ all undermine your message and credibility by creating the impression that you don’t trust your own knowledge or opinion. Eliminating these phrases will drastically improve the quality of any message. 

  • Jargon, slang and clichés

Specialized terminology and informal expressions can confuse an outside audience. Avoid these where possible, and stick to simple, clear and coherent language.


   b). Tonality

Our tonality plays a key role in sending the correct message. So, if our aim is to project confidence, enthusiasm and expertise, it is important to exercise control and awareness of our tonality throughout our interactions.

  • Pitch

Pitch refers to the degree of highness or  lowness in our voice. A variation in our pitch creates meaning, adds clarity and makes what we are saying more interesting. For instance: A rise in our pitch suggests we are asking a question, which indicates doubt, uncertainty and hesitation. A fall in pitch indicates a statement, which further suggests certainty and assurance.

  • Tempo

Tempo refers to the speed of our voice. If we speak too slowly, we risk losing the interest and attention of our audience. If we speak too fast, others may find us difficult to follow. The key is to maintain a pace which is fast enough to maintain interest, yet slow enough to be clear. 

  • Volume

Volume refers to the loudness of our voice. Speaking in a loud volume suggests aggression, while a quiet volume indicates shyness and makes it difficult to be heard. The key to determining the appropriate volume is to keep your voice loud enough to be heard, but soft enough to be clear. Modulation of volume can also be introduced to keep the speech interesting and add extra emphasis.

  • Articulation

Articulation refers to our vocal clarity. Regardless of our pitch, tempo, volume and accent, we need to make a conscious effort to enunciate clearly