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The Simple Trick to Upgrade Your Vocabulary and Make You Sound More Intelligent

Reader's Digest.CA logo Reader's Digest.CA 2017-08-29 Brooke Nelson
© bbernard/Shutterstock

They go by many names: distracters, credibility killers, fluency disrupters, disfluencies, fillers. Whatever you want to call them, words such as 'um,' 'uh,' and 'like,' are maddeningly common in our modern vocabularies. In fact, they make up about 20 percent of our day-to-day conversations, researchers say.

The bad news is, not only do all of those 'um's and 'ah's make you sound unintelligent, but they could also harm your credibility and distract your listener. Thankfully, you can reduce those annoying oral habits by simply becoming more aware of them—starting now. You’ll also want to know these must-follow secrets to make you sound instantly more articulate.

Paying more attention to what you say is 'the first and most important step' to a better vocabulary, according to communication coach Lisa B. Marshall. Although you’ll never be able to banish filler words for good, listening to yourself on a recording or simply taking note of your conversations throughout the day can increase your awareness of your own bad speaking habits. (And during your next conversation, try slipping in these fancy words to make you sound smarter.)

You can use free audio editing software like Garageband or Audacity, or leave yourself notes around your workspace or home to remind yourself to pay attention to how you speak. While you listen, pay close attention to your disfluencies by listing them and/or counting them. If you count over three or four filler words in one conversation, you need to scale back, Marshall says.

Related Slideshow: 10 Words You Should Never Say Again (Provided by Popsugar)

Portrait of businesswoman explaning something 10 Words You Should Never Say Again

Now that you recognize your favorite disfluencies, you can start resisting the urge to use them. You can also replace those words with more interesting transitional phrases like 'Let’s move on to' or 'Another important consideration is.' Either way, you’ll be on your way to a more fluent, intelligent vocabulary in no time. (Just don’t forget these vocab swaps that will instantly impress.)

[Source: Business Insider]

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