Good speaking habits will help you give better presentations, help you perform well in interviews, and ensure that you thrive in social situations. Here are ten tips that will help you improve the way you speak.
1. Start by analyzing your current habits
Record yourself speaking, or listen to the message that you have recorded on your phone. As you listen, think about what you might be able to change and improve. Are you speaking clearly? Do you sound natural and confident? Makes a few notes that indicate areas of potential improvement.
2. Open your mouth wider
Almost anyone’s speaking style can be enhanced by opening the mouth wider during the speech. In addition to boosting your volume, an open mouth typically improves enunciation. If you speak too quickly when you are nervous, opening your mouth wider can also help to slow you down.
3. Remember to breathe
If you want to make sure that you are easily understood, think about your breathing pattern. When you are giving a talk or attending an interview, the associated stress can inhibit natural breathing patterns, negatively influencing enunciation. If you make a conscious effort to consider your breathing as you talk, this focus will eventually become a habit that ensures clear speech.
4. Cut back on fillers
Vocal fillers like “uh” and “ah” often appear between sentences, functioning as verbal punctuation. However, these fillers can be annoying to the listener, so it is smart to work on substituting them with pauses instead. Reducing the number of vocal fillers in your sentences can be hard work at first, but it will gradually become second nature.
If you are giving a speech or a presentation, practicing can dramatically improve your speaking habits. You will become more confident with the material, notice parts that should be eliminated and have the freedom to experiment with different ways of delivering your key points. Practicing in front of a friendly audience can be even more useful.
6. Remember that strain is not always obvious
If you know that your voice sounds slightly strained when you are anxious, this knowledge can make you even more nervous and lead you to speak incoherently. It’s important to remember that your audience probably will not notice that your voice is strained even when it is obvious to you. However, sipping water or a hot drink can also help to disguise voice strain.
7. Work on your inflections
If you tend to use upward inflections at the end of your sentences, you will sound as though you are insecure or inquisitive. To improve this speaking habit, practice using a downward inflection that communications certainty at the end of sentences.
8. Try different deliveries
You can become a much more interesting and dynamic speaker if you learn how to vary your tone more effectively. One smart way to practice is to read a children’s book to young family members, trying out exaggerated voices and different methods of phrasing. This process can help you become more comfortable with bold ways of speaking.
9. Warm up before speaking
If you know you will be talking for a long time, you can maximize your chance of speaking clearly and confidently by warming up before you talk. Singing and humming work well, even if you do not normally like to sing.
10. Practice diaphragmatic breathing
Finally, your voice will be at its clearest and most powerful if you breathe from your diaphragm instead of higher in your body. Use your stomach muscles when breathing as you speak and listen to the difference in the quality of your voice.
If you follow the above advice, you should begin to notice clear improvements in your speaking habits. In addition, you may find that your more effective speaking style also boosts your self-confidence when you have to talk in front of an audience.