Knowing how to harness the power of words for your benefit can make for a much smoother career path – be it in interviews, meetings, emails, presentations, conversations and more. If you can express yourself clearly, you have a huge advantage over most. Having a good vocabulary is crucial for written as well as spoken communication. It benefits you not just professionally but also personally. Working on your vocabulary helps you articulate yourself in a specific and precise manner, and is one of the most underrated skills. In fact, the researcher Johnson O’Connor conducted a study over 20 years, and showed that
“No matter which area he looked at, and no matter how he analyzed the data: a person’s vocabulary level is the best single predictor of occupational success.”
Read on to find out about the five simple practices which will help build and improve your vocabulary.
Improve your Vocabulary by Reading
This is one habit that will boost your vocabulary like nothing else can. Set aside at least thirty minutes of your day for some mindful reading. Read business magazines or online business journals, reading newspapers daily is a must – at least the editorials, and of course, if you enjoy fiction, nothing like it. But remember that it is not enough to just read and know the story, the whole point is to build your word power, so when you come across a word and do not know what it means, be sure to look it up. Keep a pocket dictionary handy or an online dictionary on your bookmarks menu. We would also suggest noting it down on a sticky note and putting it somewhere you can see it every day, until it becomes a part of your vocabulary!
Improve your Vocabulary by Playing
Yes, building a vocabulary can be a rather fun thing to do. Make crosswords and word games an obsession and before you know it, you will have gained fabulous language skills. It can be hard in the beginning, but the key is to keep practicing. Most newspapers have a word games section that you can try. There are several mobile apps you can play in which you can also choose to start from a basic level and move up gradually. Our favourites are Wordament, Words Words Words and Text Twist. You can also check out the FreeRice.com website which donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food program for every answer that you get right in their vocabulary quiz.
Improve your Vocabulary One Word A Day
Yes, one of the secrets to a powerful vocabulary – learn one word at a time, everyday. Subscribe to “word of the day” emails. Don’t just sign up for it, make sure you read the emails every day and don’t end up marking them as spam. While it may take you only a few minutes to read it, the benefits will truly be long-term. You can use this link to sign up for one of these programs – Wordsmith.org or Word Of The Day
Improve your Vocabulary by Listening
You might have noticed by now, the amount of stress we lay on this one point in all our communication related posts. Listening intently and carefully is a great way to improve your vocabulary and communication. If you like the way the speaker is speaking, make a note of what you like. When you listen carefully, you will also come across new words and will learn the context in which to use them. If you write the word down and use it immediately in a sentence, your brain will remember the word better. It is also very important to listen to someone who does not seem to be making a lot of sense while speaking, because that is a lesson on the mistakes you have to avoid yourself.
Improve your Vocabulary by Writing
Even though this may sound tedious, it will take you a long way in improving your vocabulary. Writing helps you form coherent sentences and is a true measure of reflecting how your vocabulary has improved. It need not be tedious, all you need to do is maintain a journal and write as little as half a page a day, even about simple things like how your day was! This habit can be really helpful if you pursue it in a disciplined and persistent manner. We can assure you that two weeks into keeping a journal, you will really start enjoying it! Start today!
Remember that practice makes for perfect. You may follow all of the above advice, however, if you don’t put into use what you learn, it doesn’t matter how hard you have been working. Incorporate into your daily vocabulary the words you have been learning. Express yourself regardless of the anxiety that you may fumble and make mistakes. Make mistakes and then learn from them, and slowly with practice, you will be perfect!