A lot of times, inspiration for my videos comes from you. Yes, you! I love hearing from my students about what they’re struggling with or what they’d like to learn more about. This video is no different. After receiving many comments and messages from several students, I decided it was time to make a video!
This week is all about sounding concise when speaking. If you ever feel like your thoughts are scattered, you aren’t organized, or you’d just like to get to the point faster, this video is for you!
Welcome to the Influency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 332. And today we are going to talk about how to be articulate in English, or in other words, how to be more concise and speak to the point without repeating yourself.
So today’s topic makes people feel a lot of feelings, including myself. Because this idea of saying something and saying it exactly right, only using the words that you need, not going off on a tangent, not repeating yourself – that is something that almost all human beings want to develop not just in English, but in all the languages that you speak.
Because it’s such a skill, especially now when you watch all those TikToks and Reels that are like 7 seconds long and they’re packed with information. Of course, it’s so easy when you can edit it and cut it and only take the highlights and put them together. And it feels so precise. And we always compare ourselves and say, How come I cannot speak like that?
Well, I can answer – because you can’t edit yourself in real life. But it doesn’t matter, we still compare ourselves to those ideals, all those profound, clear, crisp messages with the right story, you know, like we hear on TV and in shows and in TED Talks. So it’s definitely something to strive for.
Now, to be honest, if you were to tell me 10 years ago or 20 years ago that one day I would have a podcast and a YouTube channel where I would be speaking about things, I’d tell you that you are crazy. Because back then I felt like I’m unable to make a point in under 15 minutes. I’m exaggerating, but that… that was the feeling. Like I felt like I’m very long-winded, I’m speaking around the subject, it’s hard for me to get to my point. Sometimes it still is. You know, when I’m teaching, of course, it’s easier because I’ve been talking about these things forever, but when I try to make a new point…
Just the other day I was having dinner with a friend and I was talking about something slightly political, slightly related to our culture. And it was a new point that I was trying to make. And at the end I said, “It sounded better in my head. I feel like I wasn’t able to express myself.” So when we talk about new things especially, and that was in my first language, when we talk about new things, sometimes it’s really hard to speak to the point, because you’re processing your thoughts while speaking.
So if you were to tell me that I would be creating content, I’d tell you you’re crazy and there is no possible way. But lo and behold, here I am creating content. And while I do edit my content, podcast, and YouTube videos, I feel I’ve gotten better at it.
And recently, I’ve also been getting a lot of questions from my students telling me that it’s really hard for them to organize their thoughts. It’s really hard for them to speak about something without repeating themselves. And I realized that the things that I was secretly thinking in my head before becoming a content creator, and sometimes still after a 3-hour coaching session where I feel like I’ve been speaking nonstop and I was like, did I even make a point?
So, I realized that more people feel this way. And I also realized that there are a lot of things that my students and my listeners and you can do to help you get better at speaking more to the point. Especially in a second language, because there is this need to explain ourselves, this fear as if we haven’t been clear enough. And then we repeat ourselves in different ways, which is not necessarily bad, sometimes. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes we need to do it. But sometimes we don’t, and we still do it. And this is what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the things that don’t serve you, and what are the strategies or the tactics that you could use to help you get better at it.
Now, you know me already, I hope. And if not, then hello. But if you know me, you know that I always say that practice is key. Meaning, if you want to get better at something, you got to do more of that something, and that is relevant to this topic as well. If you want to get better at telling stories that are precise, then you need to tell more stories, and become more aware of how you use your language.
But at the same time, there are some strategies around organizing your thoughts before speaking. Which you need to practice, but also it’s something that you need to be aware of and actively do when you’re preparing to speak. And, you know, I’m not talking about a 30-minute preparation, I’m talking about a few seconds before opening your mouth to speak. And as always, there’s mindset involved.
So, we’re going to talk about that as well. I think this episode is going to be really valuable for anyone who speaks. Definitely for teachers, content creators, people who want to make an impact with their words. If you work in a global company where you need to use English to convey your thoughts, to argue against something, to make a point, to present a product. What I’m going to be sharing in today’s episode is going to be relevant and helpful if you need to do all of that and more.
Now, one more thing. If you’re listening to this during the month of July, which is when this episode is published, then I want you to know that I’m hosting a 30-day speaking challenge, that is actually going to be a perfect opportunity to practice what I’m discussing here, and to improve the way you speak about things, tell story, sound and feel articulate. And it’s absolutely free. So I’m also going to link to the challenge in the description. Even if you’re listening to this late in July, it’s not too late to join. Because even if you post three videos or practice with us for a little bit, it’s still valuable. All right. So, I hope to see you there. And that’s it. Let’s listen to today’s episode.
Do you find it hard to stay concise and organized when speaking? Do you feel like your thoughts are all over the place? Do you feel like you keep repeating yourself when speaking? I’m asking this because recently I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my students telling me that it’s hard for them to speak clearly.
And it’s not about the language as it is about how they organize their thoughts and get to the main point. And then I asked this question on Instagram as well:
“Hey everyone. So, recently I’ve I’ve gotten a lot of questions from students saying that it’s hard for them to stay concise and say what they want.” And by the way, if you’re not following me there, then you should definitely follow me at @hadar.accentsway.
And I shared this experience of my students, and so many people felt the same way. They felt like it’s hard for them to stay on track, that they lose their focus when speaking. And they asked for help, and they even said that it’s hard for them in their first language. So this is why I decided to record this episode and share with you some tips and strategies on how to stay concise, focused, and on point when communicating.
But first, I want to tell you that no one is born a great communicator. No one is born and is ready to give a TED talk, right? The speakers that you admire and that you see out there are very well rehearsed and they have a lot of experience speaking about the things that they’re passionate about, or the things that they’re not passionate about. They just have a lot of experience speaking to other people or maybe teaching.
And when you listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos like this YouTube video, remember that it is edited. A lot of times we, content creators, we talk a lot and then we edit it down. And to you it sounds very concise and fluent and on point. Where in fact, when we record it, it could be all over the place and quite repetitive.
So, also remember that when you’re comparing yourself to creators online, sometimes you’re not seeing the full picture. However, speaking can be a challenge, especially when you’re communicating in a second language. You can’t expect a human being to always be a great communicator. So cut yourself some slack, and also listen to the tips that I have to share with you and see what you can do to practice and improve your speaking skills.
So the first thing, as always, is mindset. I want you to ask yourself, Are there thoughts that are limiting your ability to communicate in a better way? Thoughts like, “I am never concise”, or “I lose track really quickly when I speak”, or “No one understands what I’m saying”, or “I’m a terrible communicator”. So, thoughts like that, to you, they seem like you’re just observing reality.
At the end of the day, they’re preventing you from actually stepping up and improving. Because if you have a belief that you are a terrible communicator or that you are never clear, so your brain is always going to follow up with this belief. You know, if you say to yourself, “I’m always scattered” or “I’m always repetitive”, you’re going to end up being scattered and repetitive.
So first of all, I invite you to start observing the thoughts that you have about yourself as a communicator or as a speaker of English as a second language, and see if there is something there that is already setting you up for failure.
Now, as far as practical tips, here’s what I recommend for you to do before you speak. When you get asked the question or when you have the idea of speaking, take a breath, and first, organize your thoughts. What do I mean by that? Don’t immediately start responding with a first thing that comes to mind. Think about your overall answer, and it should take only 2-3 seconds. And the more you do it, the better you get at it. But think about the beginning – what you want to say: maybe your main argument or the point, the main point of what you’re trying to say. And then maybe a way to conclude or to support your main point.
So, it’s almost like you’re writing invisible bullet points in your brain before you start speaking. So it’s just about organizing all the thoughts that you have about what you’re about to say. Now, at the end of the video, I’m going to share with you some tips on how to practice it on your own, but for now, just remember this: before you start speaking, take a breath, organize your thoughts, the order of what you want to say – beginning, middle, end, and then start speaking. Now, you don’t have to have the whole script in your head, just ideas, just bullet points, and that would give you confidence to stay on track, right, from the beginning until the end.
Another piece of advice is that after you organize your thoughts, when you start speaking, try to get to the main point – that one thing that you want them to know or to think – really quickly. Okay? Don’t tell stories before that, don’t try to give examples before, you can do that after. But the most important thing is to get to the main point.
Now, I want you to know that being elaborate or telling stories is a great thing, and you don’t always have to be concise. Okay? So, it’s really important to remember that you should use these tips if you really struggle with staying on point and you feel like you’re always getting sidetracked or going off on a tangent. ‘To go off on a tangent’ is to start talking about something that is only remotely or slightly connected to your main idea. Okay? So if you get to the main point really quickly, you’re less likely to go off on a tangent earlier on.
Another thing that could help you with being more concise and on point when speaking is to use shorter sentences. A lot of times, especially for speakers of English as a second language, what happens is that you’re already thinking about the next thing and the next sentence. And when you speak, it ends up sounding like you are saying one long sentence. And then it becomes a little harder to follow what it is that you’re saying.
Try to use shorter sentences and to be clear when it is that you’re ending the sentence. And you can take small breaks between sentences. That would also help you stay on track, be more concise and not use those long long long sentences, where you get confused about where you are in the sentence when you do that.
Another thing that is relevant, especially for speakers of English as a second language, is the need to overexplain, the fear that you’re not clear enough. And then what happens is that you say something and then you’re like, “Oh, I’m not sure if I made sense or if I’m clear enough.” And then you say it again in a different way, and you explain it again and over and over again, or you elaborate to get to the point. Sometimes it’s necessary, but sometimes it’s not.
So, if you feel like you’re any way tending to over explain yourself, try to just say what you want to say in the least amount of words as possible. And trust that if it’s not clear, the other person is going to ask you what you mean or ask you to repeat yourself.
You can also say something in a concise way and then just ask the other person, “Do you know what I mean?” to be certain that your message was delivered, instead of saying it again and again and again. So, if you catch yourself doing that, just simply quickly end the sentence and move on to the next idea. And don’t try to overdo it or overexplain.
And another thing, remember that it’s a skill and it’s something that you need to practice. And not just on your own but also while speaking to other people. So if you feel that you are going off on a tangent or that you are getting sidetracked with a story that is not related and you feel lost in what you’re trying to say, don’t be afraid to say, “You know what, let me go back to what I was saying earlier.” Or, “You know what, I don’t think that’s related. What I’m trying to say is…” And then go back to the main objective – what you want them to think or what you want them to know. Don’t be shy, there’s nothing wrong with you. No one’s expecting you to be the perfect communicator that we see in the movies. And also, you’re not a robot.
Which brings me to the next point: you don’t always have to shine, you don’t always have to be concise. So while it’s a good thing to have, it’s not about being concise, it’s about being confident in what it is that you’re saying. And sometimes storytelling and repetition is really, really important. So, just make sure that you’re not prioritizing concise speech with confidence and with clarity. Okay? Cause you could be confident and clear, even when you’re repeating yourself and even when you’re adding a lot of extra information. It really depends on the situation and who you’re speaking to.
All right, that’s it. Now, let me give you two exercises that you can do to improve your speaking skills and speaking more concisely and on point.
So first, record yourself answering questions that you’re not used to talking about. You can go online or to ChatGPT and just request for ‘conversation topics’ or ‘debate questions’. And choose one, organize your thoughts – you don’t even have to write it down because you want to practice thinking about it quickly – and practice answering it. And record yourself – limit it to two minutes or to three minutes and see if you can answer a question every single day about different topics, things that might even be hard for you to talk about in your first language. It teaches you how to stay concise and on point, especially if you set for yourself a time limit. So that is the first thing.
The second thing is just speak a lot more. The more you speak, the more you communicate, the more confident you become. And the more confident you become in your voice, and the more confident you are about delivering your message. And if you have a lot of opportunities to speak with people, you can take the things that I’ve shared with you in the video and put it into practice, especially if it’s in a safe space.
If you are a non native speaker of English and you don’t have a lot of opportunities to speak with other people, I wholeheartedly invite you to join our free community on Facebook called the InFluency Community, where we share videos every week. And also there are a lot of conversation groups, and it’s free. And you can find incredible people to practice speaking on point.
All right. What other tips do you have for speaking in a concise way and getting to your main point? Let me know in the comments below, and also share with me your experience about the things that we have discussed in this video.
If you enjoyed this video, consider subscribing to my channel or my podcast, if you’re listening to this as a podcast episode. And if you want to learn more with me, come on over to hadarshemesh.com, my website where you can find hundreds of different lessons. You can also subscribe for my weekly newsletter to get my weekly lesson to your inbox every single week.
Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. And I will see you next week in the next video. Bye, everyone.