how to speak better

How to Speak Better

You know someone has great speech when they have great relationships at work and in their personal lives. You know they have great communication skills when people react well to their new ideas, when no one interrupts them, and when people do what they tell them to do.

These crystal clear, highly persuasive, and magnetic speakers have made learning how to speak better a priority in their lives.

You can speak better.

Have you ever watched a video of yourself public speaking or speaking to a client and thought, “Ugh! That was terrible!” You rambled on using too many words. You used a few too many filler words and you didn’t sound authoritative.

And then felt shame. Like, “I only made that mistake because I didn’t prepare enough.” or “Somebody threw me off.”

But no, you only made that mistake because you haven’t learned the techniques to become an excellent speaker. But that stops here! 

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Record yourself speaking

If you’re looking to improve your speech, congratulations. You’re taking a step towards improving your life.

The incredible speakers that you know or know of have learned these techniques. And they are keeping it a secret because it keeps them ahead of their competition.

The following are the steps to improve speech in a nutshell. Then scroll down for more specifics.

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5 steps to speaking better.

This isn’t brain surgery, but remember:  you’ll need to put the time in each day to practice. I recommend practicing for 21 days. Of course, if you need help, reach out; we will get it done faster and better 🙂 You’ll be so well-spoken people will do everything you say. So please use these skills only for good!

  1. Don’t pop your “t”s.

  2. Make sure you don’t go up at the end of your utterances.
  3. Don’t over-articulate.
  4. Use a varied intonation pattern.
  5. Use loads of air when you speak. Your speech “rides” on the air.

Great speakers have executive presence. They exude charisma. And it’s not magic. People who speak well have an authoritative voice and a very compelling way about them.

If they haven’t told you they had coaching, it’s only because they don’t want you to know. They want you to think they were born with it.

Speaking well isn't what you think.

Many people come to me & ask how to speak better because they want to be heard. They want people to listen to them. And they don’t want to be interrupted.

People really want to get their genius out. This results in our being recognized for our ideas & treated with respect.

Most people think that to speak well, they need to enunciate all of the letters in their words. This is the exact opposite of what you need to do.

Unfortunately, articulating every letter (over-articulation) makes you sound staccato and robotic. The result:  people can’t process your message.

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Want to be more influential? We all want to communicate our most important messages in a way that encourages others to take action. Whether that action is voting for our candidate or picking up milk from the store, the words we use and how we speak play a huge role in getting the job done.

Your genius is in there!

You have smart things to say. For some reason, it doesn’t come across all the time. Especially at work, in meetings, and when you meet people for the first time.

You may have the impression that the solution to your problem lies in improving your articulation and diction. Actually, if you want to speak better, you need to do the opposite.

How To Improve the Sound of Your Voice

How to Speak Better

Your goal is to have a clear, warm, and engaging speaking style to attract people with your speech and your style. You want to have people hanging on the edge of their seats while you speak.

It is not done by over-pronouncing your words. Let me show you five real strategies for improving your speech. The following are the steps you need to learn how to speak better.

How to Speak Better During Presentations

1. Don’t pop your Ts!

Ts are only popped at the beginning of a sentence and followed by a vowel. When T or a double T (as in “letter” or “butter”) is in the middle of a word, it’s pronounced as a “flap” sound. That’s a smooth sound produced when your tongue lightly touches your alveolar ridge, which is the bumpy part on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth.

How to Speak with an American Accent

Guess what? It gets even better. The same thing applies when a T is in the middle of a sentence!

Here’s your example. Say this sentence aloud.

“Put it on my desk.”

How many flaps do you count in this sentence? Did you count 2? Muy Bueno! If you say the sentence aloud properly, “pudidanmuhdesk” is how it sounds. You thought if you wanted to learn how to speak better you’d have to do the opposite, didn’t you? So the truth is it’s easier than you thought!

How to Stop Upspeak

2. Don’t go up at the end.

Upspeak or uptalk is when one ends their phrases or sentences with a higher pitch. We use this when we ask yes/no questions. When this upward intonation reaches our brain, our audience attempts to make a yes/no decision, thereby undermining your authority and confusing your message.

How to Speak Clearly in 7 Easy Steps

You’ll speak better just by bringing your pitch & intonation down at the end. Here’s more information on stopping the use of upspeak.

how to speak better

3. Your speech teacher was wrong — TH sounds don’t matter.

Dudes! Stop sticking your tongue out of your mouth. Words like “then”, “them”, “those”, & “the.”

Pronouncing the Dreaded TH

Determiners are not as important as the content of your sentence. You shouldn’t spend as much time on them. Just put your tongue behind your teeth and make the sound more of a “stop” than a fricative (friction-causing sound).

Which leads me to my next rule:

accent reduction

An Introduction to Accent Reduction

This brief introduction will get you started on the road to speaking Standard American English.

4. Use a varied intonation pattern.

Think of your words like musical notes. Each one has a different length. You’ve got whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes. You get the picture.

Spend more time on the words that give your listener more meaning. Shorten the amount of time on words that I call “grammar glue.” Those are articles, conjunctions, and prepositions that are necessary but don’t give much information. They are cute but not giving your listener any additional information – they’re distracting from your message.

There’s lots of information about intonation here.

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5. Use loads of air when you speak.

Just try it. You’ll like it. Speech is air molecules that vibrate. When you’re stingy with your air, or you don’t breathe at all, your voice sounds less attractive and not at all magnetic. The more air you use, the more attractive, magnetic, confident, and persuasive you sound. As a result, you’re taken seriously & appreciated.

More so if you don’t use vocal fry.

Take a breath into your lower lungs (make sure you’re using abdominal breathing) and then as you exhale allow your voice to take a ride on the exhaled air. take a listen to your voice on the recorder. You’ll think it’s going to sound crazy but when you hear it you’ll realize it sounds pretty amazing.

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Make your new speaking skills a habit in your life.

Speaking in a manner where people understand your message and follow your call-to-action is not difficult. It’s easy when you take it step-by-step.

Systematize your plan. Improve the above areas in easier speaking situations. Start improving your food and beverage orders. Leave better voicemails. Master the basic steps of communication, and you will speak clearly and confidently during presentations and meetings.

How to Improve Your Speaking Skills

Measure your speech success. Don’t expect 100% accuracy the first time you use one of my clear speaking tricks. Expect incremental improvement. Shoot for jumps of 10%.

You can do this. You have a right to get your message out there. Let the world hear your genius!

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Schedule a speech consult

Let us evaluate your speech for you. We will be very specific and tell you what’s going on with your speech. We’ll also teach you how to speak better. What are the results? You, sounding amazing & having amazing relationships with all those in your life.

9 thoughts on “How to Speak Better”

  1. As a native English speaker, it’s interesting to see the rules laid out this way and then realize that I do almost all of it without thinking. I think the biggest one here is about popping Ts. I don’t really think about it how hard my pronunciation is, but as someone who has learned another language, I can imagine there were just as many little things that I had no idea about. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It’s so true, Tobias! We don’t think about our speech until we’re in intense situations, like job interviews & giving presentations. Or when someone asks us how to pronounce words. Suddenly we think that we should start popping our ts! When I was in 7th grade and Sister Theresa told us that Americans’ were lazy because we didn’t pop our t’s! I went around popping ts for about 2 weeks! That’s the Standard American English accent.
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. Reading this article resonates in me, especially the tongue out pronunciation (those, etc)
    I will apply these steps during my speaking engagement this morning. I shall be talking to inductees of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Nigeria on “Relationship Management, a Key to Effective Administration” Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m so glad, Charles! Yes, spend less time & energy on those /th/ sounds. They shouldn’t be so pronounced.
      Good luck on your speaking engagement 🙂 We can always improve, yes?
      Let me know how it goes! You can even send me a recording–I’ll give you some feedback!

  3. Thank you Sandra. Yes, that would work well for British English but in American English it sounds choppy or monotone. In Standard American English we have a very varied intonation pattern. Also, we don’t pop all of our t’s, we use flap sounds when they’re in between vowels–even between words.

  4. Approaching mid to late twenties has made me realize the importance of learning how to speak better. All of these tips are things I can improve on.

  5. I just recently got the guts to record myself and I realize I pop my “T”s a lot! It’s very distracting. My speech needs to be much smoother. Going to work on it.

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