Stop Mumbling & Pronounce Words Clearly
Why We Mumble and Slur Words
“How do I stop mumbling and pronounce words more clearly?” is a very common question I’ve heard from clients over the years. But before I directly answer the question about better diction, I think it’s important for you to first think about why you mumble. So here are the primary reasons people mumble.
1. “I’m focused on something else.” It’s pretty simple…if you are not focused on your words, you won’t say them clearly.
2. “I’m nervous.” When we are nervous it has a physical impact on our body and can distort our speech.
3. It’s a bad habit you are unaware of. If people are constantly asking you to repeat yourself, it’s likely you mumble (or have a heavy accent).
Listen to the podcast Mumbling is a Credibility Killer – Stop Now!
How to Improve Diction and Speak Clearly
So how do speak more clearly, stop mumbling, and improve diction?
1.) First, it’s important to concentrate on speaking your words. If you are nervous try a few different techniques to calm your nerves before speaking. When you are calm, you speak more slowly, and this improves your diction and clarity of your voice.
2.) Warm up your voice. When you use your voice and you don’t take care of it, it causes your vocal cords to become irritated and inflamed.
3.) Next you need to enunciate, articulate, and exaggerate by opening your mouth very wide and pronouncing each syllable separately. Try recording yourself saying, “Enunciate. Articulate. Exaggerate” or try “The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue.” How did you do?The more you open your mouth the easier it will be. Try it again, and again, to speak more clearly.
4.) Daily practice with tongue twisters can also help improve your diction. My favorite and most difficult for me is, “Rubber baby buggy bumpers.” I make it a contest to see how fast I can say it but still speak clearly and with good diction. Here are some vocal exercises for better public speaking.
5.) Another good exercise is to read aloud –again, record yourself. But this time ask someone you trust to evaluate your how clearly you speak. Remember to ask those around you let you know when you slip. It turns out that many people tend to mumble on the same words and by having others bring it to your attention you will become more self-aware. This really works to improve diction, but it takes some time and outside help. Of course, you can always hire a speech coach. Hint, hint. Smile.
6.) My favorite technique for improving my diction is to sing in the shower. Not sure if my family agrees, but I love to sing!
7.) Of course, as always, remember, that the engine of our voice is our breathing. It always helps to learn how to breath properly.
When you’re calm, you’ll have a more relaxed pace. When your mouth is naturally more open and you have more breath support, you’ll create more precise sounds. Everyone will understand you and your credibility will increase.
I also invite you to explore these related topics via Macmillan’s Quick and Dirty Tips website:
How to Improve Diction and Speak Clearly and Crisply
How Fix A Monotone Voice
Why You Hate Your Voice
How to Warm Up Your Voice
Do You Have a Radio Voice?
Vocal Exercises for Better Public Speaking
How To Sound Better
Mumbling is a Credibility Killer – Stop Now!
How to Stop Mumbling and Be Clear
Are Your Straining Your Voice with Vocal Fry?