[Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]
Earlier this month, a gentleman called saying he was told he needs to improve his diction. The gentleman asked for my opinion and I told him I agreed with the recommendation he was given so he became my client. We got to work right away and I created multiple tools for him to use.
That got me thinking about diction as the topic for this blog. Let’s begin by ensuring we’re fully understanding this term. Merriam Webster defines diction as vocal expression, pronunciation, or enunciation. The dictionary goes on to say that diction means choice of words as far as being correct, clear, and effective. With that definition in mind, what rating would you give your diction?
Most of us probably don’t give much thought to our diction. However, I believe we should. It’s clearly part of how we communicate and that alone means it is significant. Back to my client—he told me he wasn’t even aware he had a problem with diction and that’s precisely the point. What I said is that our diction is a function not of what we think but what our listeners think. When we let our audience guide our diction we’re more inclined to speak and write more effectively.
We need to consider the fact that three forms of diction exist. These include pedantic, colloquial, and slang diction. While pedantic is highly formal, colloquial is the other end of the continuum and is viewed as quite informal. When we pay attention to trends, we typically use slang (i.e. texts). It’s important to realize that our choice of diction may exclude certain individuals so please keep that in mind if your goal is to be inclusive.
Overall, communication is meant to be easy for the listener to follow. That guidance will serve you well the next time you write or speak your message. Now is a great time to go back and rate your diction. Whether your diction is one or five stars you can always strengthen it. Let’s discuss it…518-664-6004 or firstname.lastname@example.org