Think of the most successful people you know. It’s likely they also have rather impressive vocabularies. It’s no coincidence; a person’s vocabulary level may be the single greatest predictor of occupational success. That was the conclusion that researcher Johnson O’Conner, renown for his research on the impact of vocabulary in all areas of life, drew from more than 20 years of research and experiments. O’Conner isn’t alone; many researchers have concluded that people with large vocabularies on average are smarter, wealthier, and happier than the average person, by a wide margin. In fact, vocabulary is so important to your success, it’s even more correlated to it than achievement itself.
Why Vocabulary Matters
Vocabulary matters for a variety of reasons. Let’s start with the one everyone knows. The more words you learn, the more concepts you learn, because many of the words we tend to add to our vocabularies as adults describe new ways of understanding the world. And the more concepts we understand, the more we can expand our thinking and break away from limiting thought patterns. We open up new pathways and new ideas come easier; we become more creative, as you might imagine. But did you know we also improve our processing speed? It’s true. The larger your vocabulary, the quicker you can process information.
If you’re expressing yourself in business in a way that demonstrates a broad understanding of complex concepts, a high degree of creativity, and quick processing power, just imagine the perception this creates. People in power will want to bet on your brainpower. And to think, your vocabulary is something you can build considerably in just a few weeks… well this might just be one of the most worthwhile investments you can make in your career. Here are three easy ways to do it!
This long-time best-seller has been updated periodically with several editions, the latest of which is from 2018. It makes a concrete promise of 30 days to a more powerful vocabulary with 500 words you need to transform your life. According to Amazon, the book offers a program that will “ensure that these words become a habit-knit part of your life – and with minimal effort on your part.”
This application bills itself as the quickest, easiest way to learn vocabulary. It uses a “smart dictionary” with more than 12,000 words and sophisticated algorithms to customize vocabulary-building exercises in an adaptive learning game for each user. By comparing your answers to millions of answers given by other Vocabulary.com users, the app personalizes your learning experience as you go.
Because the only way to win this game is to find uncommon words, this game application forces you to learn new words. Plus, if you have a group of close friends with similar ambitions (share this article with them if they don’t already), this app gives you a chance to collaborate and help one another while playing a game. Words with Friends has been around for years, but the new version enables you to play against fictional characters in solo challenge events, against online opponents, against friends, and even in team matches.
A Final Thought
Once you have expanded your vocabulary considerably, especially if you have done it in a matter of weeks or months, you’ve got to put your newly learned words to immediate use. Use them in social conversations, in business communications, and in writing exercises. Saying them aloud is particularly important in transferring them into your long-term memory. Make daily incremental progress, and soon you will be reaping rewards in your career, as well as every other aspect of your life.