The average adult knows between 5,000 – 25,000 words. Those at the higher end of the spectrum are highly educated, or perceived to be highly educated. Our vocabulary paints a picture of us to the world. Those with a greater vocabulary are perceived as more intelligent. Since perception matters, it is therefore, in your best interest to increase your “in-use vocabulary” if you want to improve your chances of success in life. In order to increase your vocabulary you must read, identify words that you do not know and then learn their meaning. Here’s a process that I use, every day, to increase my vocabulary:
- I highlight unfamiliar words in the books I read
- After I am done reading a book, I transfer the highlighted words to a word binder that I maintain
- I find the definition or synonym of the new word and write it in my binder
- Every day, I spend 15 minutes adding to or reading my word binder
I do this day in and day out. It’s now a habit that I engage in daily. It’s no longer a task; it’s a routine. I have no emotions about it, good or bad. I just do it. Increasing your vocabulary will also make you a more effective communicator. Sometimes just the right word is all it takes to get a deal done, to acquire a new customer or client, or to persuade someone to do something you desire. An increased vocabulary helps move you forward in life, inch by inch, towards success.