My best friend is very lazy. I’m not being nasty he says so himself! He’s also one of the most successful people I know, and – like most successful people – he has a superb vocabulary. Not only does he know a lot of words, he uses them in powerful ways in his work and personal life to gain a massive advantage over others.
If, like me, you’ve ever envied someone with a superior vocabulary, and wished you could have their ability to influence others, you’ll find these simple tips for building your vocabulary very valuable.
My lazy friend is one of those people who always did the minimum work on his homework – and handed it in at the last minute. He’s the sort of person who would never follow a tedious discipline of lugging a heavy dictionary around, looking up words at the drop of a hat and then memorizing them laboriously.
No, he knows a better way. Here are the sure-fire, simple and most importantly effortless ways that he recommends to build a powerful vocabulary:
1. Do look for useful words and the minute you learn them – start using them. Whenever you’re skimming or reading websites or magazines make a habit of looking for words that jump out at you. Check the meaning and then use that word in a real situation as soon as possible.
2. Don’t ever force yourself to read boring stuff. If you’re excited by Shakespeare, great! But the worst way to build a powerful vocabulary is to make yourself bored. If you’re hard on your brain like that, it will turn off and refuse to work for you.
3. Do pay close attention to the people you respect and want to emulate. Look for those around you who already have powerful vocabularies and listen carefully when they talk. It’s not just a case of listening and thinking, Yes, I know that word, and that one, and that one ’ What’s crucial is to listen to how they use those words, and then copy them! Use the same words in the same way in your own conversations. (Of course, you need to make sure you understand the word properly first!)
4. Don’t try to memorize words by writing them out or reciting them. It’s absolutely essential that you find an enjoyable way to learn words. Whether it is one of the powerful software programs available today, or a word of the day game you play with a friend, you must make vocabulary building fun.
So – those are my friend’s tips for the lazy person’s path to vocabulary success. And the fifth and final tip is one that he doesn’t even realize he is doing! He’s a very visual person. My own top tip to you is that when you learn a word, use your imagination and visualize a scene where you are using the word. Do this as quickly as possible and you’ll make the word yours by imprinting it on your imagination!