Speaking in front of people is terrifying. No matter how many people listen to you. It could be that you must speak in front of your co-workers, at a wedding, or in school. But, no matter where you speak publicly, nerves always seem to creep into what you say. But one you learn how to speak clearly, it will make all the difference and take you far in life.
Honestly, not only is it traumatic for you, it’s unpleasant for people listening if you forget your lines, stutter, speak quickly, or mumble. [Read: The top 20 ways to stop feeling like an imposter in your own life]
How to speak clearly
But it doesn’t mean that just because you’re not a good speaker doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for you. Work on your public speaking skills and improve the way you speak in front of people. Sure, you’ll encounter bumps in the road, but, with practice, you become a more fluent and confident speaker.
So, this is why you’re here, let’s get you going on the path to speaking clearly. It’ll take some practice, but you can do it!
#1 Why are you having problems speaking? Is it nerves? Is it that you don’t know what you’re talking about? Figure out why you have problems speaking clearly. It could just be you’re having issues pronouncing specific letters which is easy to fix once you know that that’s the problem. So, when speaking, be aware of the problems you have. [Read: Recognize the triggers of nervous sweating and stop them]
#2 Calm your nerves. Speaking is a nerve-wracking experience. Take a sip of warm water, hold a small object in your hand while speaking. Calm your anxiety before speaking. It helps you to speak slowly and more clearly. When you’re nervous, it increases your speed, you stutter and then your anxiety is amped up even more. [Read: 7 instant hacks to calm yourself down]
#3 Take time to think before you speak. When we rush through our thoughts, we don’t take the time to process what we’re going to say and prepare ourselves. By thinking about what you want to say, you’re able to plan your words out, preventing the chances of you slipping up. You can rehearse them in your head which even helps with your pronunciation.
#4 Practice regularly. You need to practice. Doing this once isn’t going work. To improve your speech, this is going to be a long-term process. You’re not going to be speaking like a celebrity overnight, this is going to take months and months of practice. But that’s the point, you’re going to need to practice daily, at least for five minutes with tongue twisters.
#5 Warm up the voice. When you go from not speaking to suddenly reciting a speech, it affects the way you speak. You need to warm up your voice. When your voice isn’t warm, your vocal cords can easily become irritated and inflamed which cause issues when you’re speaking. Hum for a couple minutes before speaking and drink warm water. This relaxes your vocal cords. [Read: 16 powerful secrets of self-improvement you can’t ignore]
#6 Stand in front of the mirror. This is the best way to see how you speak. You need to look at yourself in the mirror. It could be that you don’t open your mouth wide enough on certain vowels which causes you to mumble, but you don’t know until you see yourself speak.
#7 Record yourself. When speaking, you’re not actually hearing yourself how people hear you. So, I recommend you record yourself speaking. Record yourself with tongue twisters or the speech you’re going to give. Then, listen to it out loud, you’ll be able to see where you go wrong. Then, re-record yourself and hear the improvement.
#8 Know where to breathe. You may not have thought about it but your breathing is extremely important when it comes to speaking. Breathing is the engine of the voice, it’s what fuels your sound. So, breathe through your stomach rather than your chest. This takes some practice as many of us are used to breathing through shallowly through the chest.
#9 Don’t take a slip up as a failure. You’re going to make mistakes even when you think you’ve perfected your speech, this is normal. But, what you shouldn’t do is see it as a failure. When it comes to learning how to speak clearly, don’t let small slip-ups prevent you from progressing with your ability to speak clearly. [Read: 5 reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to fail]
#10 Work on self-confidence. Your ability to speak clearly is highly tied to your confidence. You need to believe that you speak clearly and fluently. If you don’t believe in yourself or what you want to say, that’s going to come across when you speak. Look within and trust yourself with what you’re going to say.
#11 Practice in front of friends or family. If you need a second opinion, practice your speech in front of friends or family that you trust. They’ll be able to tell you when you speed up or when you mumble. If you’re not able to record, this is a great way to see what the issues are when you speak. [Read: 10 mind tricks to regain control over your life]
#12 Avoid slang and jargon. When speaking in public or if you want to be understood better, the best thing you can do to speak clearly is to avoid jargon and slang. Keep your speech clear and clean. It helps you avoid any slip-ups if you use proper English. In addition, you won’t confuse your audience when you speak in a way that everyone understands.
[Read: 12 easy ways to avoid a first impression catastrophe]
Now that you know the best ways for how to speak clearly, it’s time you started practicing. It’ll be hard in the beginning, but you’ll notice the improvement when you speak.
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