Mumbling is when you speak so low or skimp on enunciation to the extent that people don’t understand what you’re saying, and often ask you to repeat yourself. This can be an annoying habit, but chances are that you already know how to speak without mumbling. You have probably had a phone conversation when the connection was poor or spoken to somebody who was hard of hearing, and in these situations you probably spoke loudly and clearly without even thinking about it. Can you do that consciously and make it a habit? Here are some techniques to try.
1 Stand up straight.
Even if you’re nervous, good posture will help to give the impression of confidence. Good posture also helps to keep your airways open, so your breath can be stronger.
2 Avoid nervousness.
People who speak fast do it because they are not confident, or they are nervous. Pretend not to be nervous and this will make you speak at normal speed.
3 Don’t be afraid to say the wrong thing.
You might; everyone does. Just correct yourself or move on. It is a skill and some people are extremely gifted at it. If you need to practice, realize it is a skill that you aren’t particularly strong in but is something you can learn.
4 Open your mouth wider as you talk.
Not as much sound will come out if it has to snake past your closed teeth and lips first.
Make sure you actually stop the air for consonants like ‘t’ and ‘b’. Differentiate between your vowels.
6 Slow down.
Talking too fast is a common symptom of nervousness, but it won’t help your words be understood.
7 Speak up. Aim to speak at least a little bit louder. You will automatically use more breath, and you will probably slow down and articulate better in the process.
Talk into a tape recorder or use your computer with a microphone. Then, listen to your recordings. Do take the opportunity to notice what is unintelligible, where your sentences trail off, and so on.
Listen to others who are good at speaking, such as radio and television announcers, and notice how they pronounce words, at what speed they talk, and so on.
10 Speak with inflection.
Questions should go up in pitch at the end. Statements should go down. Notice, also, what syllables and words get emphasis. Try exaggerating your inflection, the way you would if you were reading to a small child and hamming it up a little bit.
11 Support from your diaphragm.
Use the muscles in your stomach to support your breath as you speak. Even if you speak no more loudly, you will speak more clearly this way. Place a hand over your stomach, just below your ribs. You should feel the muscles there move as you speak.
You don’t have to sing while anybody is listening, but try singing alone in your shower or in your car. You’ll exercise your voice and get used to using it. You’ll also learn about using air, articulation, breath, and phrasing.
Don’t squeak or scream or raise the pitch of your voice. Bellow. Keep your voice at about its normal pitch and see how loud you can go. Cheering at a sporting event or talking over loud music is an opportunity to practice, or you could just close the door. Notice how you control your air when you shout.
14 Practice pronouncing words by reading things out loud and pronouncing every word.
– Misbaah Mansuria