If you tend to mumble your words and are generally apprehensive when you speak then it’s time to learn how to speak more clearly! Other people will appreciate it. And you won’t have to repeat everything you say several times until other people work out what you were trying to say.
1. Check your posture
If you slouch – whether that’s sitting down or standing up – you won’t be giving your lungs chance to fill with air and you won’t have as much “oomph” behind your voice as you could otherwise have.
There’s a knock-on effect with posture as well: it sends out body language signals. The more you sit or stand up straight, the more you’ll give the impression of confidence. Which helps every part of you, including your speech.
2. Think first
That doesn’t mean that you need long pauses between each and every word as though you were talking to someone who doesn’t speak your language as their first language.
It just means that you should engage your brain for a second or two before you start speaking.
Just enough time to gather your thoughts – it’s why some people clear their throat before they speak.
This short pause gives you time to gather your thoughts and assemble them into a logical order so that the words that come out of your mouth are coherent. Which goes a long way to increasing your confidence when speaking.
3. Slow down
Nervous speakers tend to rattle through their words at almost supersonic speeds.
It’s a race to be able to stop talking again.
But this brings on several problems.
The biggest of these is that you’re more likely to stumble over your words or otherwise get them tangled up. You’ll notice, even if the people you’re speaking to are still trying to process what you’ve said already, and that will dent your confidence.
So make sure that you consciously slow down. Especially if you’re talking in front of a group of people because not all of them will be listening intently to what you’re saying and if you don’t slow down your speech, all the words will just collide together and it will sound as though you’re talking in an alien language.
4. Hold your head up
If your head is pointing downwards, the words you speak will be directed at the floor.
Which means that their volume will be reduced and you will appear to be mumbling, even if you’re talking at a reasonably normal volume.
Holding your head up automatically removes that problem and means that you can increase the effective volume of your words with no additional effort on your part apart from holding your head up in a normal position.
Yes, that old chestnut.
Practice is the single best way to improve almost anything you do.
It doesn’t matter where you practice as much as whether you practice.
So pick a few moments where you won’t be disturbed (you’ll probably want to be on your own the first few times you practice!) and start.
Use a voice recorder if you feel it will help but start speaking out loud, relatively slowly and definitely clearly!