Speak Clearly to Be Heard Correctly

Woman Raising Her Hand to Speak

An ability to speak clearly has advantages.  Clear communication is chief among these advantages, as well as the perception of a certain level of education, professionalism, and social status.

However, in a culture that encourages multi-tasking, you may notice when someone is engaged with an electronic device as well as conversation, the conversation end of the activity tends to suffer.  Instead of hearing words, you most likely hear mumbling, a grunt, or possibly even a moan.

When you were young you were probably told to "Speak up, don't mumble," or "Use your words."  And if you've ever attended a speech class you were certainly taught to enunciate every word while speaking from the solar plexus.

In adulthood, most of us aren't in positions to be kindly corrected or reminded of our speech habits.  We are entirely on our own.

It's Polite to Speak Clearly

Clear communication adds great value to every situation.  It encourages civil interactions by making everyone involved feel like a welcome participant.

When you speak clearly, you give the gift of your words.  You are mindful that other people want to hear what you say.  And, without realizing it, you may be giving someone the confidence to respond more openly than he would otherwise.

Your words have great power.  Sharing them in a manner that ensures understanding can persuade someone to follow your lead, calm a tense situation, or encourage someone who feels hopeless.  But if no one hears or understands you, none of these things can take place.

Practice Your Speech

There is always room for improvement.  Even the most articulate person can falter when communicating.  But if you repeatedly hear, "Could you please say that again," or "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you," it may be time to do a self-check on whether your speaking technique is up to par.

  • Learn to moderate your volume.  Record yourself speaking in casual conversation.  Can you be heard?  Or perhaps your natural volume is a little too high.  Find your "just right" personal setting and practice speaking at that level consistently.
  • Do you speak in complete words?  It's easy to let the end of a word drop off when you say it, especially if you speak at a fast pace.  Try slowing down a bit and enunciate each syllable of a word.  Doing this in practice sessions will serve you well when you enter an important conversation with someone.
  • Maintain good posture.  Your speech really does sound differently when you are slouching.  When you stand or sit up straight, your lungs easily fill with air so that when you speak, your words come out with more force and purpose making you appear confident.

The most important benefit in minding the mechanics of your speech is that as it becomes a habit, you will feel natural and authentic in whatever conversation topics you have engaged.

Remember, the manner in which you speak, speaks volumes about you.  When making a first impression, your voice is assessed in the initial seconds of meeting someone.  What impression do you want to give?

Even more important is when you are speaking on a phone.  Your voice can tell someone if you are lazy, irresponsible, and rude.  Or it might tell someone that you are professional, in control, and thoughtful.

Decide what you want your voice to tell people about you.


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