Improve Your Speech to Improve Your Life

I recently read that James Earl Jones, the actor with the clear, dramatic, perfectly enunciated speech had a speech impediment when he was a young boy. He stuttered so badly that he chose not to speak at all for a period of time when he was a child. A wonderful teacher not only convinced him to try to speak again, but also instilled a pride in him that led him to develop his fine baritone voice and crisp, clear speech patterns. This was a boy from a poor black region of Mississippi.

Unlike many of our physical characteristics, such as our height, physical features, and eye and hair color which cannot be changed except by artificial means, we have the power to change our speech.  Having a pleasant speaking voice is a major asset in so many aspects of our lives, not the least being our career success, but speaking well also infers authority, good breeding and education.  If you have a message and you want it to be heard, you had better learn to say it well.

Anyone can improve the way he speaks. All it really takes is the desire to do so, attention to your speech, some patience and lots of practice. We talk almost all day long; we may as well use this time to practice speaking well.

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Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdgovpics/8492456384/

To understand how your voice works, you have to understand the function of the organs involved in speech: the lungs and diaphragm, the larynx with the vocal cords and the mouth (made up of the tongue, palate, lips and resonance chambers).  And each of these organs contributes to clear speech.

The lungs and diaphragm are the power sources of your speech. The quality of your voice can be determined by deep breathing. Practice deep breathing by slowly inhaling, drawing in your abdomen to capture that power, and then releasing slowly to control the rhythm of the air passing over the vocal cords. Controlling this rhythm will allow you to control the rhythm of your speech.

The larynx and vocal cords control the sound of your speech. This also can be improved with practice. For a few minutes each day, read aloud in an exaggerated and slow manner. This is not how you ultimately want to sound, but it will get you into the practice of being able to modulate your speech. It doesn’t matter what you read: passages from a book, lists of countries, etc. Vocalizing and listening are the important things. Enunciate every syllable of every word clearly and distinctly. This practice will make you conscious of the sounds and gradually help you control the sound.

Finally, the tongue, palate, lips and resonance chambers put the finishing touches on your speech.  If you do not place your tongue properly with each word you speak, you will slur your words, and all of the force of your breath and sound resonating from your larynx will be useless if the words are not clear and easy to understand. The next important daily exercise to achieve improved speech is to practice the pronunciation of letters and words.  Take a few minutes each day to say the alphabet in front of a mirror. Watch how your lips and tongue move with each letter. Test whether the letters come out clearer when you open your mouth wider. It only takes a few minutes each day to practice the alphabet, but clear speech can be achieved by being conscious of each letter and syllable we pronounce.

These simple exercises will help improve the way you speak and therefore the way you are perceived in the world. If you plan on using speech in more important ways, for example if you are running for office, or plan on a career (or even a hobby) in acting, you should go the extra step and work with a speech coach.

If you plan on hiring a speech coach then you have to know that they are safe to be around you and your family. Try checking this article to find the best background check service for you to use on your new speech coach.

Comments

  1. These are quite helpful tips. Sometimes I have troubles in delivering speech, which greatly affects me because my job involves conducting trainings. I know that being a good speaker is an advantage to any career.

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