how to speak clearly

How to Speak Clearly in 7 Easy Steps

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 always communicating well.

Have you ever felt like you talk too fast or use too high of a pitch? Or maybe you use too many words and end up getting the glaze over, or your spouse 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.

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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, 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; none of them is taught in school!

how to speak clearly

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.

How to Sound Smart

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If your team isn’t getting it done, the reasons may not be what you think they are. Download this e-book for the hidden problems holding business people back.

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On speaking clearly.

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.

A crisp, clear speaking voice and powerful executive presence are essential to being a crystal clear speaker.

Influential people are clear speakers. They’ve studied and put to practice the art of being persuasive, and they know how to answer difficult questions when they get hit with them.

English isn't a sound-to-symbol language.

That’s why it’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.”

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how to speak clearly

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!

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How to be influential e-book

9 Secret Steps to Influencing Others

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.

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.

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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.

And you’ll want to be able to sound authoritative without sounding aggressive. You can do that by adding warmth to your style and making sure you don’t use upspeak.

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.

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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. 

  1. Be relaxed and confident using relaxation exercises. You’ll find them in the voice spa course.
  2. Use abdominal breathing for speech.
  3. Speak with pauses instead of filler words.
  4. Be concise.
  5. Use warmth & kindness. Love your audience & they’ll love you.
  6. Use a varied intonation pattern.
  7. 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 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 access to your prefrontal cortex, which is where your complex ideas are—the ones you have to get out during high-stakes situations.


Be louder & clearer using abdominal breathing for speech.

Speech is air molecules vibrating. That’s what all sound is. The more air you use, the clearer & louder you sound. 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. And it makes your voice super quiet so nobody can hear it.

You deserve to be heard.

When you allow lots of air out for your speech your voice resonates fully throughout the room, loudly–but not shouting. Perfect volume.

Another way to speak clearly--use pauses.

Sound counter-intuitive?

Using pauses is an opportunity for you to take another breath in and for your listener to process what you’ve just said. It’s an opportunity for your voice to resonate loudly across the room. 

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.

Replace your filler words with pauses.

You can replace your filler words with pauses. Using pauses will also help you to slow down your speech. That’s the trick to eliminating 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 will also teach you all of this in The Voice Spa.

accent reduction

An Introduction to Accent Reduction

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

Be concise.

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?

Meanwhile, they literally taught you to be a nervous presenter in school. They didn’t just not teach you how to give a presentation (which they didn’t), they trained you to be nervous during speaking situations.

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.

The Voice Spa

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.

Hi Ita –

I made it through my Bloomberg interview yesterday, and I did well.

The perfect teacher shows up in life when I’m ready for it, and that teacher sure was you. 

I was in total freak-out mode when I signed up for the Voice Spa. Not only is the Bloomberg Radio show live (yikes!), but it has 25.5 million listeners (double yikes!)

I’ve tried a number of public speaking courses over the years and even hypnosis. Your Voice Spa has been by far the most helpful thing I’ve come across.

I found it so helpful that the Voice Spa starts with relaxing and belly breathing. Those first few days, I did a lot of belly breathing. I was so nervous I was practically bouncing off the walls. Most relaxation programs have you doing meditation or counting breaths. There is no way I could have done those things – I was too agitated. But I could belly breathe -and it always calmed me down. Talking in phrases was also hugely helpful – it’s a great way to slow down without sounding mechanical.

  Thank you for what you do. The Voice Spa is so well thought out. You saved my sanity.

-Betsy Clark, Ph.D

 The Voice Spa online video course will change your life!

accent reduction

An Introduction to Accent Reduction

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

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