What Did You Say?

June 7th, 2010

“I get so tired of repeating myself. Why can’t people get what I say, the first time?” Remember, you have the advantage of knowing what you’re going to say, before you’ve said it, so it’s easy to overlook the clarity of your delivery. Communication isn’t just about content; it’s about caring for the listener and making sure they get the message. Addressing potential obstacles to clarity ensures you are consistently understood.

Fast rate is one of the most common causes of unclear speech. Vowel sounds are shortened and words become a jumble of consonants. Slowing the rate of your speech gives you time to form sounds accurately and gives your listeners time to absorb what you’ve said. Learning to breathe while speaking is one of the most effective strategies for slowing down, naturally.

Mumbling often goes hand in hand with fast speech. When you speak quickly, your mouth doesn’t have time to open very far. Speech sounds get distorted while being squeezed through your teeth. Practicing jaw and tongue relaxation creates more openness in your mouth and encourages more precision in the formation of vowels and consonants.

A soft voice often contributes to a lack of clarity. Sound is the medium for verbal communication. When you’re not putting enough sound out there, your listeners have nothing to work with. Using more breath, feeling sound vibrations in your body and allowing your voice to fill the room will generate more power, without straining. Remember, your voice will seem louder to you than it sounds to your listeners. Get used to it.

Speaking with an accent can make it difficult for others to understand you. Most accents lend character and personality to communication, but sometimes they lead to confusion and even frustration. Learning to improve a few strategically selected language skills will often produce dramatic improvements in clarity. An experienced speech coach can help you identify those critical elements that will give you the most leverage for progress.

Failure to speak clearly is not a minor inconvenience; it has serious implications for your personal image and professional success. Addressing the underlying causes enables you to communicate fluently and distinctly. By effortlessly connecting with your listeners, you increase your confidence and make others more responsive to your message.

For further details, please contact Jay Miller, Toronto Voice and Speech Coach at:
http://voiceandspeech.com/contact.html

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