To get what you need out of life, you need to speak smoothly. In the last blog post, we talked about the 3 critical steps to speaking well in high-anxiety situations (like interviews, presentations, venture capital meetings, client meetings, small talk, etc.) They were:
- Be relaxed. We perform better at everything we do when we’re comfortable, and speaking is no exception.
- Eliminate Over-Articulation. The pervasive misconception is that to speak better, you must punch out on each sound. Instead, use co-articulation where you smooth your sounds together. This is how you become a persuasive speaker.
- Pause. Stop after concepts and phrases to make it easier for people to understand you. This will also help you be concise.
- Breathe. Speech is air molecules that vibrate, so “let your voice take a ride on the air.” This will keep you calm and improve your speaking voice.
- Use Back Resonance. People can understand you better when you don’t use your lips too much to speak. Let the vibration hover over the back of your tongue.
The next important step is to make sure you speak smoothly & fluidly. Why do you need to speak smoothly? Because choppy speech doesn’t hold people’s attention for very long.
Choppy, staccato, monosyllabic speech causes your listeners to work too hard to follow your message. And when they’re working too hard to follow your message, they’ll have a harder time following your call to action.
While it’s essential to listen more and better, it’s even more important to speak so effectively that people can’t help but fully understand your message.
Choppy speech, the opposite of smooth speech, even causes people to interrupt you. If people are interrupting you frequently, you’ll want to assess how you sound and think about using very smooth speech.
Want super choppy speech? Go ahead & use over-articulation. That’s the exact opposite of speaking smoothly.
Here’s how to smooth out your speech: instead of popping each consonant sound, link your sounds together between your pauses. This results in words that are connected to each other.
Following are some fun/amazing tricks to transitioning from the last sound in a word to the first sound in the next word. 🙂
From a Consonant to a Vowel
When one word ends in a consonant, and the next word begins in a vowel, say it so the word beginning with the vowel starts with the final consonant of the last sound.
“I have an apple” becomes “I_have_anapple” where there are no sound breaks between any of the words. All the sounds are connected. Make sense?
How does this impact your speech? You end up sounding smooth & fluid, making it easier for people to listen to you. Making them really want to listen to you. And making it almost impossible for them not to hear what you say.
From Vowel to Vowel
When a word ends in a vowel & the next begins in a vowel, you add a “glide” sound between the 2. If it’s a front vowel like the sound /eee/ use a y, and for a back vowel, use a w.
Let me show you:
“She is” becomes “Sheyis“
“Going to the party on Saturday” becomes “…”partyanSunday” (of course the letter “o” is not pronounced like an “o”!)
Consonant to Consonant
When one word ends in a consonant & the next begins with a consonant, slide your tongue from one place to the next. If the 2 consonants are the same, say the sound only 1ce! (the only exceptions are the ch & dz sounds as in orange juice–say those 2ce!)
Whatisshedoing? Your tongue goes from the /s/ spot to the /sh/ spot (further back on your palate) without stopping. It’s a continuous sound.
Speak Smoothly Tip II
There’s another trick to sounding smooth. Because speech is air molecules that vibrate, we need to use a lot of air when we speak. That results in having a full resonance that can easily project across the room & in a loud environment.
For every breath group you utter, make sure the air comes out continuously. Don’t stop the air from coming out in between breath groups. This results in a very smooth sound that really holds people’s attention, consequently doing what you need them to do.
Get in touch with me if you have any trouble speaking smoothly. 🙂 I can sort it out for you in no time flat!