High Definition Speaking: How to Speak with More Clarity and Strength

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What does the way you speak say about who you are?  I have a better question:  What would you like the way you speak to say about who you are? Do you want to be perceived as intelligent, confident, caring, funny? The way speak can help you send the message you want.

Ancient Greek philosophers believed that the way a person spoke, told of how wise and intelligent that person was.  Even though we have so many ways to communicate in our century, we can learn a lot about a person by the way they speak and what they say.

I’ve been writing for Potential 2 Success for years and I’ve just realized that I have never done a post on effective communication and speaking skills.  Shame on me.  Well, I want to make it up to you in this post.  In this article I will point out some ways to become a better communicator.

I spoke to one of the largest private food chains in America recently. I was asked to speak to over 60 of their leaders about effective communication.  Since the company values the sharing of ideas in a clear, concise way, they asked me to speak on that topic.

 

About a month before the day of the presentation, I sent out a survey of questions to the people who were going to attend the meeting.  The questions asked what the attendees would like to get out of my presentation.  Even though my speech was going to be about public speaking, almost all of the attendees wanted better communication skills when speaking to an individual or to a small group.

 

So, I changed the topic of my presentation from how to to improve public speaking skills to how to become a better communicator.  The presentation was very well received by the staff, the CEO and  other leaders in the audience.  I was told that weeks after the presentation, people were still talking about the information I shared. 

 

Since I love my readers so much, I thought I’d share some of the key points with you. Whether you see yourself becoming a great communicator like the motivational speakers at The Right Address or you just want to be able to talk more comfortably with the people you meet everyday, these tips will help you communicate better. 

 

 

High Definition Speaking

 

Power of Projection

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?  Maybe, but it doesn’t really matter much.  If you have something worthwhile to say but you don’t say it loud enough for anyone to hear it, is it still worthwhile?  Of course, but once again, it doesn’t matter much if it isn’t heard.

 

I do not have a loud voice. But I have learned how to project it when I need to. Once, I was asked to speak at an Adelphia Cable staff event. Before the meeting I started to feel a slight sore throat and my voice was going. As I was presenting, I could feel my voice getting lower and lower in volume. Since I knew the impact of my speech would be affected if nobody heard me, I decided use a projection technique that I have practiced. I anticipated the key portions of my speech and projected my voice during the important points.

One way to improve your projection is to practice saying the days of the week, months of the year, and counting to 20 in a clear loud voice. Be sure to take deep breaths when you need them so you can push  out the sound.  Do this at least once a day and you will begin to see your projection improve in your everyday conversations.

 

 

Become Self Editing

Have you ever seen a movie that was good but lasted 30 minutes too long? I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen a movie and thought, “The movie would’ve been great if they stopped it when…”  Or maybe you thought that the movie would’ve been great if they would’ve cut out some unnecessary scenes. 

At times is important to not say too much but to get to the point.  When you are trying to get your message across in a clear and confident way, don’t use 20 words when 10 will do.  Being brief is often more powerful than speaking for extended period of time.

What you have to say may have tremendous value, but if you overkill your message by being long winded, your message will lose its impact.  You have to ask yourself whether its more important to keep talking or is it more important to have your message well received by the listener. When communicating with others, editing yourself so you are not speaking for longer than you  should be will have tremendous impact.

 

 

Hitting The Consonants

Having a muffled or slurred speech can make it hard for others to understand you.  One way to make sure that the words that are coming out of you mouth are clear and strong is to make sure that you’re are hitting the consonants when you speak.

What this means is when you come across an important consonant, make sure that you are pronouncing it fully.  Here is a secret, there are a few consonants that if pronounced make your words sound particularly stronger.  Really pronouncing “d”, “p”, “k” and “b” when they appear in the beginning of the word “n” and “m” when they appear in the middle of the word and “t” and “s” when they appear at the end of the word will do wonders for your speech. 

When you are in your practice sessions, try emphasizing these consonants and you will notice the strength in your voice increase.

 

Actively Listen Better

Out of all the tips that I will give you in this post, this will most likely be the one most people skip,  but it is probably the most important.  Most people are more interested in what they have to say than what others have to say.  This is the reason why they cannot be concise and why they cannot seem to get their message across clearly. The reason is because they have not listened to the person or people they are speaking to.  They have not paid attention to what others have said or what their body language is saying.

Being a good listener has helped me as speaker by listening to the audience’s reaction to what I am saying.  It has helped me as a financial professional by understanding my clients.  It has helped me as a human being by being able to understand the people I come across everyday.

Listening well makes me more confident when I talk because I understand what needs to be said and the best way to say it.  Begin to develop your listening skills and you will see the same benefits in your life.

 

 

 

Speech Speed Bumps

Talking to fast can hurt your message and can turn people off to what you are saying.  People can get frustrated when you speak too fast because they have to work at listening to you and may feel the need to constantly ask you to repeat yourself.  Make it easier on them by learning how to slow your speech to a comfortable pace.

 

To slow down your speech, try reading aloud for 15 minutes a day.  Make sure to read nice and slow.  Talk your time at every comma and period.  Take your time to pronounce every word.  Also the louder you speak the slower you will speak because you will require more air to push out the sound which will  also help with your projection.

 

 

Practice Sessions

A good way to make sure you are delivering your everyday conversations in a dynamic way is to practice saying tough sentences.  Here are a few tough sentences that you may want to practice saying a few times a day.  For maximum impact, record yourself saying the sentences and listen to the results.  They may shock you.

 

Are our oars oak?”

Betty better butter Brad’s bread.”

Around the rugged rocks the ragged rascal  ran”

If Stu chews shoes, should Stu choose the  shoes he chews”

 

 

 

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  • Steve

    Could you do more posts like this? I really want to improve my speaking and communication. Great stuff!

  • http://potential2success.com/ ralphjp

    Will do1!