It’s very important to learn how to speak clearly in different parts of your life. And, the reasons are obvious. If you’re like many people, you want to speak clearly to improve your social life, professional life, and more. However, you may be shy about how you sound and not sure when to articulate certain words because of an accent or because you’re just shy.
Also, maybe you’ve been told you mumble which can make you feel insecure. Or, you may simply want to make a good impression when you’re speaking in front of others and feel confident.
Whatever the reason, there are things you can do to find the right sounds for your words and understand how to speak clearly. Just see below!
Next, in this post, we’ll give you some tips and exercises to improve speech to be more clear. In addition, we’ll explain why some people have trouble speaking clearly and some suggestions you can use to find help for improve speech challenges.
Why speaking clearly is important
Now, keep in mind the most sought-after skills are soft skills (interacting easily with people) among employers according to a Linkedin survey. Below are the skills that topped the list. It shows you’ll need to be able to communicate clearly to be effective in the workplace.
To highlight, when we learn how to speak clearly, we are better understood by others and can more effectively communicate our thoughts and ideas. Again, this will make you a more effective communicator in general. Additionally, clear speech can help us project a more professional image and can improve our overall confidence level. Speaking clearly can be a challenge for some people, however, there are many ways to improve just by practicing. Now, let’s dive into the 25 tips on how to speak clearly!
A Quick Video on How to Speak Clearly
The 25 Best Ways to Start Speaking Clearly Every Day
1. See your doctor to rule out medical causes
First, some medical issues can occur when the muscles you use for speech are weak or you have difficulty controlling them. Also, slurred or slow speech can be difficult to understand. Next, there may be speech impairments causing an adult to have difficulty with vocal communication.
Examples include: slurred, slowed, hoarse, stuttered, rapid
Lastly, common causes include nervous system disorders and conditions that cause facial paralysis or tongue or throat muscle weakness. Learn more here.
2. Work with a speech therapist improving accent
To highlight, the main goal of speech therapy or working with a speech coach is to improve how you communicate in general. For example, some of the goals of speech therapy might include: improving the coordination of speech muscles through strengthening and coordination exercises, sound repetition, and imitation. Working with a therapist or coach can help you:
- Find these flaws (the earlier, the better)
- Identify the root cause of the problem
- Weed out the problem
- Strengthen the way your express language
Remember, a speech therapist or coach can help you achieve goals by improving presentation abilities, overcoming fear, and attaining better focus. It can be a life-changing action.
3. Speak clearly by using proper breath control
Now, when you speak, practice speaking slowly and enunciate your words. Being able to focus on breathing deeply and evenly can help project your voice more clearly and confidently.
According to Harvard Business Review, speak “on the breath.” Once you take in that full breath, you might not know what to do with it. Instead of holding it in, use that breath to support your words, letting it out steadily while you are speaking.
4. Enunciate your words to sound clear
Always, when wanting to practice, stand in front of a mirror when working on your enunciation. When you’re enunciating properly, your mouth, tongue, lips, and jaw movements.
Next, stand in front of a mirror and say, “I’m going to have to rethink that bid”. See how your lips purse and retract when you say “go-ing”? See how your lips jut out to pronounce the “b” in “bid”? Obviously, this one sentence will really work out your face. Learn more about your enunciation at Grammar.com
5. Exaggerate mouth movement when speaking
When we’re in a conversational mood, speakers often get lazy and lose the crispness of articulation. People may drop the “g” at the end of an “ing” or “t” off a word like “difficult.”
As you speak, you’ll need to move your mouth and face in an exaggerated fashion so people can easily understand you. One facial exercise is by making the following sounds “Ooooh, eeeeee, ahhh” while stretching your lips and mouth.
6. Slow down speech to avoid mumbling
Next, always try to pause every 6-8 words to replenish your breath. You’ll feel relaxed, sound deliberate, and strong. Relaxing your jaw and opening your mouth will naturally slow down your speech. If you’re a fast talker you can’t open your mouth very far.
7. Focus on the keywords to speak clearly
Without a doubt, above-average speakers can communicate passionately and effectively to the people they’re talking to. They are able to sell an idea, product, or vision using words that get the message across in an impactful way.
In addition, they know how to choose words that have the most influence on their listeners. Here are 10 words for every speaker.
8. Consistent practice will show drastic improvement
Now, find a friend to help you identify areas you may need to work on to speaking clearly. Even consider using a video to watch how you speak. Lastly, read a book out loud to practice pronunciation.
Equally important is, the only way to learn something new is to practice. In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. However, no one is expecting you to be an “expert”, but Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, writes that to go from “knowing nothing to being pretty good” actually takes about 20 hours of practice – that’s 45 minutes every day for a month. You got this!
9. Talk slower with pauses, to understand
If you speak too quickly, your words may run together and become difficult to understand. Remember to slow down. This one is tricky because it is hard to gauge how fast you are speaking. A good rule of thumb is to speak at about 75% of your normal rate.
Keep in mind, to articulate each sound in a word and avoid mumbling. This allows people to better understand what you’re talking about. Try to keep your mouth moist by taking small sips of water throughout your conversation.
10. Tongue placement produces clear sounds
For example, if you have trouble with the “s” sound, find tongue twisters or other drills that help you practice forming that sound.
Next, use proper mouth and tongue placement when producing speech sounds. The tongue should be positioned behind the teeth when producing sounds such as /t/, /d/, /n/, and /l/. When producing sounds such as /s/, /z/, /sh/, and /ch/, the tongue should be positioned in the front of the mouth.
11. Pronounce each word and speak steadily
It must be remembered, to pronounce each word steadily means over-articulating or saying each sound in the word more clearly than usual. For example, saying “ssssuper” instead of “super.”
Now, try a “buzz” or “hum” speech exercise. Put your lips together and make a buzzing sound.
12. Take some time to practice tongue twisters
You can look for specific exercises to help you practice those sounds. For example, tongue twisters can be a great way to practice difficult sounds. Or, if you’re having trouble with a particular word, try repeating it several times in a row. In fact, even if you practice for a few minutes a day, you’ll be speaking more clearly in no time.
Here are some tongue twisters to learn how to speak clearly:
Denise sees the fleece,
Denise sees the fleas.
At least Denise could sneeze
and feed and freeze the fleas.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
13. Warm up your voice before every social interaction
This improves the quality of the sound you make and helps the tone flow more naturally. Learn more here to warm up your voice. Always remember, make sure you’re taking deep breaths from your diaphragm and not shallow breaths from your chest. This will help you speak more clearly and with less effort.
14. Stop over-explaining and keep speaking simple
It takes a bit of practice but you don’t need to repeat things. So, try editing the things you say and see how the conversation goes.
Try speaking in chunks. Think of delivering your message in a bullet format and get to the point. Because people stop listening after 60 seconds. If you’re not concise people end up interrupting or not paying attention to you. Learn more about the traffic light rule.
15. Use your Hands more, they’re an underrated tool
Now, it can be a good idea to use your hands to emphasize essential points. It’s been said in studies that gestures increase the value of spoken words by up to 60%! Researchers found talking with your hands “lightens the cognitive load” of speaking. Especially when you’re talking about something abstract or strategic, using your hands makes it easier for you to navigate complex ideas in your brain.
Another study published in the Leadership & Organization Development Journal says: If you don’t use your hands when presenting, or if you use awkward hand movements, your audience will label you as cold and aloof.
16. Find great speakers and use their best qualities
Importantly, watch a video of your favorite speaker three times in a row. Notice their tone of voice, stature, and vocal quirks. Learn a few sentences from the speech and try to re-enact them in a mirror.
17. Pay attention to the volume of your mouth
When speaking to people in general or before a large audience you need to constantly focus on speaking loudly or at least adjust your volume based on where you are.
Speakers should exaggerate their normal conversational volume so that the amplified tone is commanding and not tinny.
18. Attending social activities to practice speech
Truly, getting out and interacting with others is a great way to practice your speaking and your social skills. You don’t have to be the life of the party but you can arrange a small activity such as meeting with a friend for coffee.
Most people feel more comfortable in small groups over large groups. So, if you’re working on your speaking skills or social skills we suggest starting small with maybe one person then once that feels ok, see if you can feel comfortable in a social event with three people, then four… and so on.
19. Writing thoughts improves speaking confidence
Journaling after social events or speaking moments can be very helpful in developing self-self-reflection skills. How did the conversation go? Did you pronounce some words correctly? Were you mumbling? Were you asked to repeat? If yes, which sentence was it that wasn’t clear?
By thinking about what you said and how you said it, you can hone in on specific communication behaviors that need work. Also, no one is perfect. So, if you make a mistake that’s ok. it’s a part of learning.
20. Acknowledge the challenge you may have
Be honest about the difficulty of learning something new, especially when you’re taking on something different and scary. Expect mistakes, and celebrate effort, and risk-taking, rather than expertise and skill level. It’s very common.
Now, this is important to remember, reward yourself for trying new things and building new skills, even when your attempts are less-than-perfect. You got this!
21. Learn how speaking works
More time investigating how something works such as the rules and strategies of a game, the mechanics of a car, or the science of speech and accents, is very important. Spacing out time to explore pays off in better performance and becoming more skilled. You can do this by reading about how language works, working with a speech therapist, or doing in-depth research.
22. Emphasize words when you talk
You can emphasize words in the sentences that you want people to hear. It helps you get your message across by stressing the words that carry the main meaning.
23. If you speak with an accent, don’t focus on it so much
Some people with accents want to reduce their accents or make their accents go away. They might feel insecure or that they can’t get a job because of how they talk. Whatever the case, in reality, it might not matter.
Now, if you’re able to speak another language such as English with ease and people can clearly understand you, then you’re fine. It’s very unlikely you’ll completely reduce your accent. Do you need to speak more clearly or speak without an accent? Remember to identify the real problem.
24. Leave space for your listeners to react
The quality of being heard or understood is how you feed your thoughts to the listener, not about the particular way you pronounce sounds.
Remember, make an effort to express ideas accurately and deliberately. This is a great way on how to speak more clearly with just listening.
25. Focus on your audience and being understood
Keep asking yourself if you speaking clearly is an unrealistic standard or whether your speech is actually good and people are understanding you. If people are listening then you are doing just fine. And, anything can be a distraction. Your shirt, your eyes, the drink in your hand. Also, some people might really like how you talk.
Lastly, focus on your audience. Be aware of their reactions to be sure they understand your ideas.
26. Be brief and use fewer details
People who are long-winded will quickly lose their listeners. So, get into the habit of making your point quickly and concisely. Trimming away excess detail is an easy way to self-edit. According to Joe McCormack, author of Brief, people can only hear about 750 words a minute.
But there’s a simple way to make sure you’re truly heard in any conversation, by using the “Traffic Light Rule.”
30 seconds the light is green: The listener is probably paying attention.
60 second mark, the light is yellow: Your listener is starting to get distracted.
1 minute mark, the light is red: Your listener is bored or politely pretending to listen.
The more brief your response is, the more people will hear you and, most importantly, like you.
If people seem to be squirming, looking somewhere else, or trying to walk away, then you’re talking too much. Bring people back to the conversation by asking a personal question.
Continuing to Learn How to Speak Clearly
Now, viewing the image below represents a guideline for the most effective learning techniques the human brain is able to acquire and store information.
The most effective way to learn is to teach others and use it in our own lives.
If you want to start speaking clearly and improving your overall communication, use this guide to become better. Take time to discuss it with others, teach your friends, and dive into videos and books. This method can spring you forward, giving you a head start.
How You Can Speak Confidently in Your Social Life?
Improve your social skills in addition to speaking clearly, here are easy tips you can use today.
First, it’s important to be prepared:
Before speaking or having conversations with people. Especially, if you’re new at meeting new people. This means knowing what you want to say and how you want to say it. Be prepared and practice.
By taking the time to prepare, you will be more likely to feel confident when speaking with others. Have you ever not been prepared for a test or a call with a customer? It will show and you don’t want to have any awkward moments.
Next, try to relax:
When we’re nervous, we tend to speak quickly, but this makes it harder for others to understand us. If you can slow down and enunciate your words, people will be more likely to catch what you’re saying.
Furthermore, try to project your voice:
This doesn’t mean you have to shout, but speaking in a clear, assertive voice will help ensure that people can hear and understand you.
Finally, make eye contact:
When we make eye contact with someone, it shows that we’re confident and interested in what they have to say. This will help to show that you are engaged in the conversation.
If you think you’re ready to take your conversations and speaking to the next level check out the links to posts that can help below.
- How to get better at socializing
- The best conversation openers
- How to start a conversation: 15 strategies
- How to have a good conversation
In addition, we created an infographic below showing simple steps to improve your social life today.
Practice speaking clearly and socialize more …
Learning how to speak clearly is important for many reasons. It can help you be successful in school and at work, and it can make socializing easier. Some people have trouble speaking clearly because of issues like a speech impediment, hearing loss, or a learning disability.
If you have trouble speaking clearly, there are many resources available to help you, including speech therapy and books on the subject.
Remember, it is very important to practice regularly. Make a commitment to doing these exercises regularly, and keep track of your progress. Set realistic goals, and celebrate each milestone reached. Then, you will have learned how to speak clearly.
The more you talk to people, the more confident and clear you’ll be able to speak.
Do you feel anxious when speaking to people?
You may feel overly anxious and it could be a social anxiety disorder. Find out more by taking a quiz.
Social anxiety is a disorder that can make someone feel very self-conscious and nervous in social situations. It is common to have some level of social anxiety, but it becomes a problem when the symptoms are severe. If the symptoms are not addressed, they can lead to other mental health problems like depression.
Click below to find out more about how therapy can help you.
What else can you do now?
Download our Tool Kit for free (mini-course, social blueprint, and more) Prepare more when you go out to socialize. We think if you join our community or read a few more blog posts, you won’t be saying, “how to speak clearly!”
To sum up, you’ll feel more confident, and prepared and you’ll know what to do next, especially, when it comes to speaking clearly and socializing.
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