In this blog, we will discuss how to speak clearly. Speaking clearly will help improve your confidence and allow you to take on more roles such as public speaking, team leader and be an advocate whatever matter you may see fit. If you don’t speak clearly you may find your confidence is much lower and you may find that you will shy away from many opportunities where someone who speaks much clearer could have taken on such opportunities.
How do you talk smoothly and clearly?
Talking smoothly and clearly will depend so much more on the pace at which you speak. Those who speak faster will more often than not speak as clear as those who speak much slower in a much more composed fashion. To talk smoothly and clearly you should slow yourself down when you speak as this will not only allow you to be clear in your thoughts but to be very clear and composed in what you say. By taking a few breaths when speaking and not completing a whole sentence or more in one breath you will ensure you talk smoothly and clearly.
How do I stop mumbling and speak clearly?
To stop mumbling and avoid slurring your words you should ensure you are more conscious of what you are saying. If your thoughts are more articulated and what you want to say is much clearer in your head then you will be able to stop mumbling and begin to speak clearly.
Taking your time is very important and ensuring you take at least one breath in and out during a sentence will help you stop mumbling. This may seem very hard at the beginning but with a little bit of training and practice, you will find that your speaking will become less muffled and you will begin to speak much clearer which will boost your confidence when you are out and about.
How can I talk clearly without stuttering?
If you want to talk clearly without stuttering( also known as Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder) then there are a few things you should know first. Stuttering is a speech disorder and you may never be able to fully get rid of it. When you stutter you may find that you know exactly what you want to say but may end up not being able to say it correctly, saying it too quickly or having to repeat yourself several times as your speech slurs and becomes inaudible even to you.
When you stutter you may also find that words get stuck and hard to pronounce. In some cases, you may find it very hard to pronounce certain words and find that you pause at certain syllables to formulate them properly in your head before speaking.
The main issues you may face when stuttering include:
- audible or silent blocking (filled or unfilled pauses in speech)
- circumlocutions (word substitutions to avoid problematic words)
- words pronounced with an excess of physical tension
- monosyllabic whole-word repetitions (e.g. “I-I-I-I see him”)
- sound and syllable repetitions
- sound prolongations of consonants as well as vowels
- broken words
Stuttering is very common and is mostly seen in children between age 2 and 6 but this slowly gets better as they grow older and about 75% of them will stop stuttering by the time they have become teenagers.
Unfortunately, the remaining 25% will experience stuttering for the rest of their lives.
So what can you do to reduce stuttering and begin to speak clearly?
To talk clearly without stuttering it is important that you first take your time when you speak.
Most speech disorders could be bettered if we simply took our time when speaking. By slowing down we reduce the chances of us stuttering and stammering. Ensure you take a few deep breaths when speaking as this will allow you to be more composed and speak much clearer. If you find that speaking slowly isn’t helping you and you can’t improve how fluent you are then you may want to consider visiting a speech therapist.
In short, by slowing down when you speak and focussing on your breathing you can reduce how much you stutter and learn how to speak clearly faster.
A study which was published in 2012 highlighted that deep, mindful breathing helped to reduce blood pressure and increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. This also helped reduce anxiety and can have a mitigating effect on stuttering too.
By having a slow rate of speech and ensuring you pause between sentences you can significantly increase how fluent you are.
Speaking at a higher rate of speech can increase your anxiety and make you stutter when you speak.
Another way to help you speak clearly and avoid stuttering would be to practice. You can practice with a friend or family member and even join self-help groups for people who are stuttering.
By practising in a safe environment you may find that it is much easier to go through speech patterns, make mistakes and try new things without any embarrassment.
When practising you should focus on trigger words or difficult phrases which you may find hard to pronounce.
Practising should focus on:
- speaking slowly
- completing thoughts
- reducing tension
- taking deep breaths while speaking
- using compensatory strategies
Get an ear device
You may be able to get an ear device which serves almost like a hearing aid. Better known as a speech monitor, there is some research on how effective speech monitors are but no research on their long term effects. These devices delay the sound of your voice by just a second or so. This allows you to slow down as you speak in line with what you have just heard.
Speech monitor devices will usually cost anywhere between a thousand pounds to a few thousand pounds so you may want to seek medical advice to be sure one of these devices will be suitable for you before investing in one.
Avoid certain words
There are certain words which are very hard to pronounce when you stutter. You can either avoid these words or simply practice them in your time so when you say them you will be able to say them with much more confidence.
Speak with a rhythm
Many people who stutter have realised that when they sing their stutter seems to vanish. This is because when singing they have a rhythm but when speaking they usually don’t. By speaking with a rhythm they may find they stutter much less and begin to learn how to speak clearly.
Visualize your words
Many people will visualize their words before big presentations and speeches and this makes them much more calm about what they are about to say. By visualizing your words you could find that this allows you to speak clearly and reduce how much you stutter.
Visualizing your words also allows you to predict how people may react to what you are saying and this may serve to reduce your anxiety and encourage you to speak much better. And clearly.
Control your nerves by moving
If you have ever seen any presentation or speech given to a large crowd you will see that the presenter will usually move a lot but in a very controlled fashion. Most people can use their body movements to control their nerves which in turn reduce their anxiety and helps them speak much clearly.
You can do this with simple, slow hand gestures.
A speech therapist
A speech therapist may be able to help you reduce how much you stutter by analyzing why you stutter and creating specific therapy sessions to address the main cause of your stuttering. Many people will stutter simply due to the anxiety they have.
Speech therapy may be needed at different periods throughout your life.
What are the six steps to speak slowly?
The six steps to speaking slowly include:
- Take deep breaths
- Visualize your words
- Relax your body
- Use body movements
- Record yourself
- Practice in front of a mirror
Take deep breaths
Taking deep constant breaths in between sentences and sometimes in between words as well. This can help ensure that you aren’t increasing your anxiety by reducing the amount of oxygen that flows within your body. This will ensure you speak clearly and much calmer.
Visualize your words
Visualizing your words before they come out of your mouth and taking every effort to ensure you pronounce the complete word and not just the beginning, end or some part of it. By visualizing your words you will learn how to speak clearly and slowly.
Relax your body
Relaxing your body by meditation and breathing will allow your muscles to be relaxed and the stress or any weight on your shoulder to be dropped off. By relaxing your body you will begin to speak slowly and much clearer.
Use body movements
Use body movements as a speech rate gauge and never speak faster than the body movement. Take for example using your hands when you speak. If your speech is faster than your hand movement then you are speaking way too fast and should slow it down.
Record yourself speaking and then listen to it to identify areas where you could slow down or areas where you face difficulty and should practice more. The more practice you get the better your speech may become and the slower you may speak.
Practice in front of a mirror
Practice in front of a mirror to see what your physical appearance looks like when you speak faster and when you speak slower. As you may agree, speaking slowly portrays much more confidence, less anxiety and ensures the people you are speaking to understand you but more importantly, you can understand their reactions to what you are saying.
How do you talk smoothly?
To talk smoothly you should simply look to analyse your speech and find places where you can better your speech. This could be difficult phrases or words or maybe there are important topics where you can’t speak clearly about due to your anxiety.
Not speaking clearly causes Choppy, staccato, monosyllabic speech which makes it very hard for the people or person listening to you to follow or understand what you are saying.
To speak smoothly you must avoid dragging two words and making them become one. Ensure you stop moving your tongue after you have said a word to ensure it is audible and remains one word rather than two.
When you breathe you should ensure the flow of air coming out of your mouth also remains relatively constant.
Why do I mumble?
A lot of people wonder why they mumble, in most cases, we do it without knowing but some people even mumble on purpose. Mumbling can reduce how audible you are and reduce your credibility.
So why do we mumble?
You don’t have a good answer
I most cases, people who don’t have good answers to questions will simply just mumble and expect that the person who asked will accept this due to how obvious it appears that the person speaking doesn’t have a good answer. It is almost a shay-away technique used when you are somewhat certain that the person you are speaking to is non-confrontational and will not ask you to repeat what you have just mumbled.
You have your own language
You may not now if but different social groups, especially families have their own language. Twins are a good example. They often ten to speak to themselves in a way that is audible and coherent to each other but maybe not so much to others. This is the same case in families where they may have learnt different bad habits from each other in regards to how they pronounce words or the rate at which they speak. These habits may appear very normal to them as they spend the majority of their time and developing years speaking to their family members but when they begin to spend much more time outside of the family they may realise that other people struggle to understand what they say because they mumble.
You are focussed on something else
People will also often mumble when they aren’t fully focussed on the conversation they are having and are therefore almost speaking subconsciously.
You are nervous
Most times people who are nervous will end up mumbling as they have so much anxiety that they can’t actually splurt out their words completely. The trick here is to try and calm down by taking deep breaths, pausing and focussing on the person you are speaking to.
Mumbling is a serious credibility killer, people will not take you very seriously if you mumble as it appears you don’t even care enough to speak properly. A lot of job interviews have been failed simply because of mumbling.
If you mumble you should try and find ways to address the issues above.
These steps may help you deal with mumbling:
- Enunciate. Articulate. Exaggerate your words
- Stand up straight when speaking
- Remember The Lips, the Teeth, the Tip of the Tongue when speaking.
- Try the pencil in the mouth trick
- Record yourself
- Speak up
How can I be confident while speaking?
To be confident while speaking you should ensure you follow these simple tips:
Stand up straight when speaking
Your posture helps with your confidence. By standing up straight when speaking with your head looking forward and not down you will appear much more confident and speak clearly.
Pause before speaking
To appear confident when speaking you must appear considerate. This means you must appear as if you have thought about what you will say before saying it. If someone has just finished speaking and you are responding to them then you must appear to have considered what they have just said. This will make you appear much more confident and speak clearly.
Use your body
When speaking you can use your body movements to emphasize your point and become a more active speaker with a lot of energy rather than stand in one position and only use your mouth. Using your body will allow you to appear more confident and speak clearly.
Take deep breaths.
Deep breathes allow you to speak slower and much clearer and this will, in turn, allow you to appear more confident to the audience.
If you are about to give a speech then preparing for it is likely your best way to appear confident without even trying.
By visualizing what the outcome of your speech will be you can become a more confident speaker as you are now much more confident that it will work out fine.
Be expressive with your emotions
Smile if it’s a funny moment, be disappointed if it is a disappointing moment but whatever you do don’t be bland and stale. The audience wants to feel your energy and this is an important ingredient to feeling confident when speaking.
How can I improve my speech clarity?
Improving the clarity of your speech will help you learn how to speak clearly and be more confident when you speak.
To improve the clarity of your speech you can do the following things:
Take your time when speaking
It’s a no brainer, the slower you speak, the better and more clear you will be when speaking.
Take deep breaths and increase the amount of oxygen you get when speaking, this should help you reduce the amount of anxiety you are facing and then help reduce any mumbling or stuttering.
Swallow excess saliva
Having too much saliva in your mouth when speaking can cause you to become slurred in your speech and this will reduce your speech clarity. By swallowing much more saliva than you may think you need to you will find you begin to speak clearly.
Sometimes our speech clarity is simply affected by our nerves. By walking around when speaking you may find that we get rid of some of our anxiety and our nerves calm down a bit which allows us to speak clearly.
Not speaking loud enough will result in people asking you to repeat what you have just said over and over again. Speaking loudly will ensure you get your words out completely and in an audible fashion.
Following these steps will increase your confidence and allow you to speak clearly.
Can slurred speech be cured?
Yes, speech slur(aka dysarthria ) can be cured but at the very least it can be reduced by following the steps below:
- take a long deep breath before you start speaking
- Exaggerate words to ensure they come out fine
- speak slowly, saying one word at a time if necessary
- Ensure each word is independent and you aren’t merging words together by taking your time
- Make sure you are within hearing distance of the person you are speaking to
- Keep your sentences short and sweet so you don’t start mumbling
- reduce background noise so you become more audible to the listener
The NHS has more guidance on dysarthria.
How can I speak well?
If you want to speak well, you should get a tape recorder and record yourself speaking or reading out from famous literature books which tend to have more of the old English.
You should then identify words which you struggled with and google them to get their pronunciation. If you find you didn’t pronounce them properly then analyze your understanding of the interpretation and then try again until you get it right.
By doing this you will learn how to speak well and clearly.
How can I speak more fluently?
To speak more fluently you must ensure your words are all coming out independently and not merged together. You must also ensure you are taking your time when you speak with good long consistent breaths. Speaking up will also ensure you are speaking fluently and clearly.
How can I train my speaking voice?
Training your speaking voice is simple.
You should ensure you speak up, speak out and enunciate your words at every opportunity.
You must also ensure you frame your sentences so they are not too long and allow the listener to understand you without too much effort.
You must also ensure you practice deep breathing so your words are clear and your pace is constant.
The pitch of your voice is also very important, it should change based on what you are reading and varying your pitch should become second nature to you. For example, you might increase your pitch when something you are reading becomes very important or frightening.
Recording yourself speaking and continue practising to ensure your speech is clear and your speaking voice is better is really the only way to train your speaking voice.
Conclusion on how to speak clearly
Learning how to speak clearly is possible but how much clearer you will be able to speak and if any speech disorders will go and never return will depend heavily on the root causes of your issues and how you treat them.
Most people live with speech disorders throughout their lives whilst others are able to get rid of them after seeking some help.