It’s more complicated than you may think to speak clearly in all situations. So don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not communicating well all the time.
Have you ever felt like you talk too fast or use too high of a pitch? Or maybe you use too many words, and you end up getting the glaze over, or your spouse just gets annoyed with you? Or how about all those filler words when you were suggesting your ideas in the meeting? Where did they come from?!
Do you ever draw a blank when you’re speaking? Or feel like you’re not persuasive enough? How about when you’re on a first date, and you can’t think of a thing to say? Forget about it if you have to deliver bad news!
These are all completely normal feelings and experiences. It’s just that people don’t talk about them with their friends & colleagues. Perhaps they feel embarrassed. I think it’s time to start the conversation.
Why is speaking clearly so challenging?
We’ve got a boatload of different environs we need to speak in: we need to talk in meetings to our team or our boss or clients. We go on job interviews, and we have to deliver presentations.
We have to introduce ourselves and try to make a great first impression. We’re required to make small talk before meetings and when being acquainted with someone for the first time. These are all challenging speaking situations, and none of it is taught in school!
We need to sound confident and be influential. We want people to find us credible and follow our call to action. This is the way we end up with great relationships and successful careers. Speaking clearly is the only way to get there.
And, of course, our bodies go into fight or flight when we’re in high-stakes situations. How many of us are not putting ourselves in high-stakes situations? After all, we’re merely striving to get ahead!
Scroll down for the 7 steps.
You’re going to want me to tell you that you have to enunciate all of your letters in English. You’re going to want me to tell you how to move and shape your mouth.
Those things aren’t as important as having a full resonant speaking pattern. People who are overly concerned about diction are not going to speak clearly. They are going to end up sounding staccato and the American brain doesn’t process staccato.
English isn't a sound-to-symbol language.
That’s why i’s so hard for non-native people to pronounce. That’s essentially why people have accents.
If you speak Spanish you’ll see that one letter represents one sound. And each sound is only represented by one letter.
But English is a completely different ballgame. The letter “a” can represent different sounds. The word “alphabet” has 2 “a”s and each presents different sounds. And “father”s “a” is a different sound altogether!
There’s not one sound in English that is only represented by one letter. And there’s not one letter in English that represents only one sound.
So when people want you to pronounce every “t” like the “t” at the beginning of a word, that sound will be incorrect in the middle or end of a word. Look at the “table”, “butter” and “fought.”
Communicating is a complex process.
Now think about how complex communicating is in the easiest of situations. You have to translate your thoughts into words, use correct grammar, intonation, and breathing. And you have to speak concisely!
Add to that: emotions and a desire for a successful outcome, and it’s a wonder we can speak at all!
With a bit of practice, you can speak clearly in the highest-stakes situations.
If you’re serious about learning to speak clearly, I recommend you set up a consult with me to talk about individual sessions or, if you’re more the do-it-yourselfer, take The Voice Spa. It’s a video class that takes you through every step you need to become relaxed, confident, crystal clear, and persuasive.
But don’t stop reading the blog because there’s tons of valuable information on these pages, plus the articles will help inspire you to keep going.
I recommend setting aside 8-15 minutes per day to follow along with this article and its links. It’s meant to be a compilation of all the techniques you need to be crystal clear.
Speaking clearly in meetings.
Many folks report that they have great ideas to share, but they just don’t speak up in meetings. That’s perfectly normal, and there are remedies.
You can also add some panache by upping your verbal brand.
Each of my clients thinks they’re the only one who isn’t speaking clearly.
They think they’re the only one in the world who doesn’t communicate super well during high-stakes situations.
I have this conversation with at least 15 people per day. And they think everyone else is a great communicator, and they’re left behind. If you mention it to a close friend or colleague, I bet they’ll tell you they feel the same way! But everyone locks it up, tight.
Speaking English as a second or third language.
Guys, I’m talking about how much it takes to speak clearly in your first language. What about when you translate your thoughts into a second or third language! It’s especially challenging in English because it’s the most brutal language to pronounce.
Once you learn the techniques to speak with an American accent, it’s a breeze!
How to Speak Clearly
Speaking clearly is essential if you want people to follow your call to action. Luckily, the steps to being clear are simple.
- Be relaxed and confident using relaxation exercises. You’ll find them in the voice spa course.
- Use abdominal breathing for speech.
- Speak with pauses instead of filler words.
- Be concise.
- Use warmth & kindness. Love your audience & they’ll love you.
- Use a varied intonation pattern.
- Use a full resonant voice.
I’ll explain in more detail below. But remember, you don’t have to do this training alone! We are here for you! Contact us to get more information or to schedule an appointment for a free evaluation.! We’ll listen to you and give you direction. There are many options!
The first step to speaking clearly is to be relaxed and confident.
Being relaxed is the foundation for every. single. thing. you. do. well. Can you imagine if Michael Jordan had his shoulders up to his ears and had a tight musculature? No way! That guy is loose as a goose.
Use relaxation exercises. You’ll find them in The Voice Spa course. You may not know how much tension you have in your throat, but it’s causing you to be a little “choked up,” and it’s stopping you from speaking clearly or at all.
It’s also preventing some accent to your prefrontal cortex, which is where your complex ideas are—the ones you have to get out during high-stakes situations.
Using abdominal breathing for speech + pauses.
Speech is air molecules vibrating. That’s what all sound is. The more air you use, the better. You may find that you don’t use any air at all, or you run out of breath towards the end of your sentence. This is definitely not helping your clarity.
Using pauses is an opportunity for you to take another breath in and for your listener to process what you’ve just said. If you never come up for air, you’re going to be facing someone whose eyes have rolled back in their head because you never gave them the chance to process your message.
It only gets worse when you’re nervous.
I teach you all this in The Voice Spa.
Speak with pauses instead of filler words.
I was in Time Out New York back in 1998 explaining that you need to replace your filler words with pauses.
You merely stop, take a breath in and then use your air for speech. 🙂
I also teach you all of this in The Voice Spa.
Do you find yourself using way too many words when you’re trying to get your ideas across? You’ll find you can easily influence others when you’re concise.
Let’s do it together! I recommend you reach out to us and get started with a personalized course or if you’re a DIY type, take The Voice Spa. The Voice Spa teaches you to use a magnetic voice, speak concisely and at the perfect pace. It trains you to be authoritative & persuasive, yet warm and engaging.
Why is “speaking clearly” so hard to talk about?
Most people deny that they’re nervous when they speak. We lie to each other about how well we did when we were presenting. Heck! We won’t even ask someone we don’t understand to repeat themselves more than 2ce. Why is that?
We never report to each other that we couldn’t get the words out/ It sounded great in my head, how come it came out as gobbledegook?
How do you feel about your speech & voice? Do you ever feel embarrassed that you didn’t make yourself clear?
Want to speak clearly during high-stakes situations? The Voice Spa will train you to do just that.
The Voice Spa teaches you to be habitually relaxed in all high-stakes situations.
You’ll be ultra-confident and cool as a cucumber being interviewed on Bloomberg or GMA. You’ll be smooth as silk during a job interview or on shark tank 🙂
Next, you learn to use a concise speaking style. Then I teach you the techniques to being persuasive. I give you lots of practice.
You’ll learn to use a back resonance which gives you a very professional sound. Your voice will be so magnetic people will just do precisely what you tell them to do.
if you do your homework (it’s not brain surgery but requires some diligence), you’ll end up being an incredibly well-spoken persuasive person. You’ll still be you only more compelling and influential.