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5 Ways To Improve Your Speaking And Writing At The Same Time

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1. Adjust To Your Audience's Attention Level

One of the biggest differences between speaking and writing is the level of attention your audience is likely to give your message. When you speak, listeners are seldom 100% focused on what you're saying. There are just too many distractions: what they’re thinking about, what you’re wearing, what the room looks like, the way your voice sounds, etc. And since we think three to four times faster than we speak, your listeners' thinking will always be a few steps ahead of the words coming out of your mouth.

We think three to four times faster than we speak.When you write, you arguably have a more captive audience of readers, simply due to the nature of reading—at least until your readers stop reading. Readers are almost completely engrossed by the words on the page; reading demands a higher degree of concentration. That frees you up as a writer to present your ideas more methodically, and to skimp on some of the flourishes and techniques you need to keep a live audience of listeners from getting distracted.

3. Choose Your Words Carefully

When you speak, your choice of words is important, but not as much as you might think. When audiences listen to you speak, they may not remember particular phrases, even if they're following your meaning closely. Listening is more about paying attention at the thought level, not the word level. This is because our brains act as editors, taking what we hear and sending it through filters based on our memories, assumptions, and biases. So in speaking, you may have more leeway in deciding which words you use to convey your message.

When you write, on the other hand, word choice is critical. Your readers can't help but pay closer attention to the words you choose, and they'll be much more critical of imprecise language. Good writing and great writing aren't so much distinguished by the breadth of your vocabulary as by the way you choose language that's best suited to the idea or impression you want to generate. That rule of course holds true for speakers as well, but it can arguably play a bigger role in writing.

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