Every time you speak to someone you are being evaluated, conclusions are drawn by the way you articulate yourself. A good vocabulary conveys smarts, success, and competency.
Language and thought are inseparable
You need words to think and to think you need words. If you don’t believe me, try to come up with a solution to a problem without thinking in words. You can’t – it’s just plain impossible. Language is the tool our minds use to think, plan, solve problems, and succeed.
Therefore, it follows that knowing more words gives your mind more ways to think about things and more tools to plan and solve problems. Having a better vocabulary literally improves your ability to think.
Here are our top ten suggestions for ways to build your vocabulary – enjoyably:
- Find things you enjoy reading. Read widely, perhaps trying out reading material that is in a different style than you would normally pick. But don’t force yourself to read material that genuinely bores you.
- Look out for new words as you read. Make a game of guessing at their meaning, then looking them up to see if you were right. You can learn a lot about a word from the context in which it is used, but it’s important to make sure you get the correct definition as well.
- Listen out for new words when people speak. Remember them and look them up later. Or better still, ask when you don’t know what they mean. Most people will love to share their knowledge and will think better of you for wanting to learn than if you just pretend to understand.
- Use one of the powerful software products available today to train yourself in important vocabulary power words in a fraction of the time it would take you by more old-fashioned means.
- When you learn a new word, find an opportunity to practice it as soon as possible. If you don’t find a conversation to use it in, how about using it in an email to a friend? Or you could even just use it when you talk to yourself!
- Circle or highlight words in your dictionary – the next time you happen to visit that page you’ll be unconsciously reviewing the word you learned last time.
- Subscribe to a word of the day service – be sure to use your new word the same day. Share it with a friend whenever you can.
- Try out new word games, and find friends to play them with regularly.
- Be goal oriented – have specific targets to hit as you build your vocabulary, and be sure to reward yourself when you achieve them.
- Use your imagination – when you learn a new word, play with it and bring it to life in your mind. This is how children learn and you can do the same. It will help you remember your new words almost effortlessly.
Most importantly, you should pick the methods that YOU enjoy the most, and use them regularly as you take your vocabulary to new levels of success.