Did you know that the extent of a person’s vocabulary is directly related to their professional ranking? One particular study showed that scores on a vocabulary test administered within a corporation of 500+ people directly correlated with their positions within the company. Without a single exception, the higher up the professional ladder, the higher the vocabulary scores on the test. Without a single exception. Isn’t that crazy? From the CEO with the highest vocabulary, to the janitor with the lowest.
But, vocabulary does more than help you land your dream job. Having a wide-ranging vocabulary opens up the ability to communicate better with others. Most everyone in this world speaks in order to communicate with others. Most everyone, at some point or another, has to write, just like I’m doing now.
Knowing the correct word to say, how to say it, and when to say it are crucial to communicating with others.
Having the right word at just the right moment can mean the difference between someone understanding you or not.
And think about this: what if you are a child? Think of the brain expansion that happens when you learn a new word. Your perspective of the world expands. With each new word you learn, you have a new tool to work with. The new ideas surrounding that word can now help you contemplate ideas on a higher plane of thought.
It has been said that with every new word a person learns, one will understand about 8-10 other words that directly relate to the word that was learned. Think of how fast you can expand your child’s comprehension of the world—or your own, for that matter!
At our house, we try and learn a new vocabulary word each day. I have a few handy books for it: Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder and The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins by Phil Cousineau.
A few other ways to increase your vocabulary: 1) When you are speaking with someone, and they use a word you do not know, ask them what it means. Sure it may be awkward for a moment, but who’s better off in the long run? You! You’re getting smarter by the minute!
2) When you are reading and you come across a word you do not know, look it up in the dictionary and use it at least five times that day in conversation. Write it down.
Review it the next day. Commit it to memory.
We heard a TRUE story of a cab driver in New York who started reading the dictionary and teaching himself new words while waiting for his next passenger. This man literally created a larger vocabulary for himself, fifty or a hundred times over. So, he went on to own the cab company he used to drive the cab for! Don’t underestimate the power of words.
Here’s a good way to look at it: If you just learn one new word a day, that’s 365 new ways of understanding the world in one year. If you incorporate the rule of associated words, that’s a potential 3,650 new “understandings” a year! Whoa! The world is yours! Learn away!
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