How to Speak Clearly: 7 Tips & Exercises for Improvement

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Tricia Brouk in front of an audience, on stage

Speaking clearly is essential for effective communication, whether you’re giving a presentation, speaking in a meeting, or having a conversation. It can be frustrating when your message is not getting across because people can’t understand what you’re saying.

Fortunately, there are many ways to improve. Below are our top 7 tips, tricks and exercises that will immediately help you improve your clarity of speech and your overall body language when presenting.

But first, let’s dive into some of the most common causes of muddled speech.


Why Do Some Struggle to Enunciate or Speak Clearly When Public Speaking?


There can be many reasons why someone may struggle to speak clearly when in front of a crowd, group or individual. Some of the most common reasons include:


Anxiety & nervousness

When we’re nervous, our bodies can tense up, including our vocal cords and facial muscles. This tension can cause us to mumble or slur our words, making it difficult for others to understand us.


Fear of judgement

At times, people feel intimidated by speaking in front of other people and as a result, may speak quickly or quietly to avoid being judged or criticized.


Lack of confidence

Having low self-confidence can cause us to second-guess ourselves, leading to stammering, hesitation and mumbling. This can make it difficult for others to understand them, or cause them to focus too much on the words and not enough on their delivery.


Lack of practice

Speaking clearly is a skill that requires practice. If someone hasn’t had much practice speaking in public or hasn’t focused on enunciation in the past, they may struggle to speak clearly when presenting in public.


Speaking too quickly

When we speak quickly, it can be challenging to enunciate words clearly. This can be especially true when giving a presentation, where the speaker may be trying to fit a lot of information into a short amount of time.

It’s important to note that speaking clearly is a skill that can be developed and improved with practice. Working with a speech coach or practicing exercises to improve enunciation can help someone become a more effective and confident speaker.


7 Tips for Speaking Clearly and Carefully


1. Practice articulating words

The first step in speaking clearly is to practice articulating words. This means focusing on the way you pronounce each syllable and sound. Start by practicing the sounds that are challenging for you. For example, if you struggle with the “th” sound, practice saying words like “think,” “thought,” and “bath.” Record yourself and listen to the recording to identify any areas you need to improve.


2. Slow down

Another way to improve your clarity of speech is to slow down. When you speak too quickly, it can be difficult for others to understand what you’re saying. Take your time and focus on enunciating each word. This also gives you time to think about what you’re saying and organize your thoughts.


3. Pause and breathe

Pausing and taking a breath is a simple technique that can help improve your clarity of speech. When you’re nervous or excited, it’s easy to speak quickly and run out of breath. This can cause you to mumble or slur your words. Take a deep breath before you start speaking, and pause for a breath between sentences or ideas. This will help you maintain a steady pace and avoid getting tongue-tied.


4. Practice tongue twisters

“She sells seashells by the seashore.” Tongue twisters are a fun and effective way to improve your clarity of speech. They are phrases that are difficult to say quickly without stumbling over your words. Practice tongue twisters regularly to improve your diction and enunciation.


5. Use your diaphragm

Your diaphragm is a muscle located in your abdomen that is responsible for breathing. Using your diaphragm when you speak can help improve your clarity of speech. Take a deep breath and push the air out of your diaphragm as you speak. This will give your voice more power and resonance, making it easier for others to hear and understand you.


6. Listen to yourself

It’s important to listen to yourself when you speak. This can be uncomfortable at first, but it’s essential for identifying areas where you need improvement. Record yourself speaking and listen to the recording. Pay attention to your diction, pace, and tone of voice. Identify areas where you need improvement and focus on those.


7. Work with a speech coach

Finally, working with a public speaking coach can be incredibly helpful for improving your clarity of speech. A coach can provide personalized feedback and exercises to help you address specific areas of weakness. They can also help you develop a speaking style that is clear, confident, and engaging.


Wrapping Up

In conclusion, speaking clearly is essential for effective communication. By practicing articulation, slowing down, pausing and breathing, and working closely with a speech coach, you can improve your clarity of speech and become a more effective communicator.

Remember, speaking clearly takes practice, but with dedication and hard work, you can master this essential skill for success. Good luck!


If you think working with a public speaking coach may be right for you, reach out to Tricia Brouk today.

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