A to Z of Soft Skills: V for Vocabulary Skills
We live in a world of quick and easy communication, thanks to social media. We live in a world where Shashi Tharoor becomes the butt of ridicule for using the command of language he painstakingly developed in the era of no internet. We live in a world where people don’t pay much attention to language. If you ask me, all emails look like each other with mindless phrases like “Please do the needful” and “Please find attached” – more recently abbreviated as PFA eliminating with the need of using any words. But I’ve been a communication trainer for 16 years and will always stand up for the sanctity of good language and style. In fact, the first blog series that I wrote on this blog was on building word power. You may ace social media with chat language but when it comes to building a career, vocabulary skills – or the ability to be able to use words in the right manner – is an important skill. In this post, I want to, first, show why that is so and then give you quick tips on how to build your vocabulary – one word at a time.
As I mentioned earlier, that writing skills are important if you are serious about moving up in your career. As a manager, a CEO or an entrepreneur who represents the image of your company, you can hardly afford to write in an immature style. Emails, reports, sales pitches, funding pitches, responses to customer complaints – there are so many areas where your writing skills need to win the battle for you. Your words and sentences will precede your personal presence – if at all. So, a great vocabulary is never going to be an obsolete skill.
I have already written a blog series – How to build your vocabulary in 4 steps – which is a step by step method of building your vocab. When I used to coach CAT aspirants for MBA entrance exams, I built by vocab following these steps. I worked my way through SAT and GRE word lists, confusing words and CAT word lists. As a trainer, I has to know meanings and uses of words if a student asked me about a word in class. My command over the language also helped me build authority as a trainer. I highly recommend that you take a look at the word power series on this blog. And here are some more quick tips to help you along in the journey:
1. Work actively on building your word power
2. Read good quality material – books, blogs, articles – everyday
3. Note down words that you don’t know the meaning of
4. Make a vocabulary book where you can write down the meanings and usages of such words
5. Spend time with words. Revise your vocab list
6. Build word networks of synonyms – words that have similar meanings
7. Find ways to use the words in every day life
8. Understand the nuances of how words are used in different contexts – sometimes figuratively
9. Make sentences in your vocab book to practice usages and different word forms
10. Partner with other people who want to work on their word power (I know this mother-son duo who have their own vocab lists and quiz each other)
11. Buy a physical dictionary and a thesaurus. These are lifetime investments (Get the latest editions)
12. Keep at it. It’ll feel painstakingly slow in the beginning but will be very rewarding in the long run
13. Be consistent and work on it everyday
This post is a part of A to Z blogging challenge where I am going to write about 26 soft skills in 26 days and give tips on how to improve on them. If you like these posts, do share them and tell your friends about it.