Ever seen a video of yourself talking with friends?
Still not sure if they were speaking english or not
Were you embarrassed at how asinine and mundane your words were? Did you want to neck yourself from the paucity of information emanating from that tongue filled hole in your head? Were you ashamed that the “ums” and “aahs” that filled the silence were your way of telling the world “I’m so lazy I can’t even learn to talk proper”? Were you confused that every phrase you uttered frittered away into nothingness before you could fully communicate the entirety of your thoughts?
While you’re pondering the big words in the previous paragraph, let’s ask the question: why do we find movies so interesting? A good movie holds our attention becuse of the density of information. Not a minute goes by that something critical to the movie’s climax is not communicated.
Most of us are info-junkies, and novelty is what turns us on. There is a world of difference between the info-density of movie dialogue and the manure that passes for conversation between many english-speaking humans.
Movie characters finish their thoughts. There are no “ums’ or “aahs”. They speak slowly and fluidly, thinking before they speak.
That could be you.
Focus on the conversation. Your thoughts will continue to run forward unless you actively rein them in and give them the conversation to think about. Because we learn to speak so early, we can do it on auto-pilot. Don’t be on auto-pilot. Train yourself to be aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it. Be aware of every word you say. This means listening to your own voice, which is very difficult to do for most people. This will take time, and lots of it.
Don’t indulge in conversation that doesn’t interest you. If you have nothing to offer, offer nothing. Men respect others who speak only when they have something to say.
Finish your goddamn sentences. If you cannot formulate an entire sentence than you have no business speaking with other sapiens. Talk with monkeys or visit your local low-socio-economic suburb instead.
Expand your vocabulary and use appropriate words. You can do this by doing crosswords in your local paper, and reading good books. Most men’s magazines write at a twelve-year-old’s level.
So don’t read these if you want to improve. Using “big” words will feel strange at first. Friends will probably tease you, but a couple will follow suit and adjust their own vocabulary. Ignore the former for they will probably not be in your life for much longer. The latter will likely become friends for life. Be brave and make yourself better. Use appropriate words whenever possible regardless of the audience. Some may think this will alienate people, and it may. However, you never know who may be listening. People who can use the correct words are more valuable than those who cannot.
Never second-guess your own pronunciation of a word. I hear a lot of people say (almost under their breath) “leading to a nice seg-you… or whatever…” In this case the word is of course segue and pronounced seg-way… but the person instantly displays self-deprecation through their knowledge that they are probably wrong. Not only do they know that they don’t know the pronunciation, they were too lazy to check it. If you want to use a word, use it confidently, and look up the pronunciation.
Use inflection to sound interesting, and modulate your speaking speed. An excellent video about this is produced by Ramit Sethi.
It may sound horribly faked through your own ears, but to the ears of your audience you will sound So Fucking Interesting! The exception to this rule is telling jokes. For me, a joke’s punchline should almost never be emphasised with voice inflection. An understated joke is much funnier through it’s unexpectedness.