How To Improve Your Clarity of Speech: 16 Proven Tips

This new article will show you everything you need to know about how to improve your clarity of speech.

If you tend to mumble frequently while talking or if you face difficulty in conveying your message to others, you can enhance the clarity of your speech by following some simple steps. It doesn’t matter if you have to give a public speech, your profession demands public speaking, or you simply wish to enhance your speaking skills, there are numerous techniques that you can adopt to communicate more effectively.

How To Improve Your Clarity of Speech:

1. Practicing tongue twisters is an effective way to enhance the clarity of your speech.

By mastering them, you can learn how to speak confidently and clearly. Many public speakers and actors use tongue twisters as a warm-up exercise before taking the stage.

Start slowly and gradually increase your speed until you can say them at a conversational pace. When reciting them, overemphasize the words to make your tongue, jaw, and lips work harder.

As you become more confident, project your voice and exaggerate the words even more. This will help you gain proficiency and strengthen the muscles required for speaking. Give these tongue twisters a try to improve your speech clarity:

  • You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York. (Repeat).
  • Red leather, yellow leather. (Repeat).
  • While we were walking, we were watching window washers wash Washington’s windows with warm washing water.

2. Reading aloud can be a beneficial exercise to improve your speech.

Whether you’re reading a book or simply catching up on the news, practicing reading out loud can help you become more aware of how you sound when speaking. When talking with others, we often don’t pay attention to the way we sound.

However, reading out loud in the privacy of your home can help you listen to yourself and identify areas where you may not speak clearly. You can also record yourself speaking and listen back to identify any areas where you may mumble or struggle to speak clearly.

3. One technique that actors and voice actors use to improve their speech clarity and diction, particularly when performing Shakespearean plays, is speaking with a cork in their mouth.

Placing a cork between your teeth and speaking out loud can help you train your mouth to work harder in enunciating every syllable, while also preventing your tongue from stumbling over certain words. This exercise can be tiring for your jaw, which can help you learn to relax it.

However, it’s important not to overdo it, as it may lead to soreness. It’s also recommended to keep a napkin handy, as speaking with a cork can cause excessive salivation.

4. In addition to pronunciation, paying attention to your tone can also affect the clarity and diction of your speech.

Your tone can influence how you articulate certain words. For example, if you’re delivering an inspiring speech, being monotone or disinterested can make it harder for your audience to comprehend your message.

Your tone, whether you’re trying to excite, inform, or have a casual conversation, can impact how well people pay attention to your speech and enhance your clarity. Tone encompasses everything from your attitude while speaking to the pitch of your voice. Therefore, it’s crucial to take note of the pitch of your voice and how it sounds when speaking.

5. Uptalk, which is the tendency to end sentences with a rising tone, making it sound like a question, can negatively impact your speech clarity and diction.

It’s essential to avoid uptalk and instead aim to end your sentences on a strong and confident note. Speak with declarative statements and assert your authority.

Uptalk often happens when we lack confidence in what we are saying. For instance, responding to a question like “What do you do?” with “I’m a designer?” may sound apologetic due to the uptalk. Instead, it’s crucial to own your response and deliver it with confidence by stating, “I’m a designer.”

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6. It’s important not to rush when speaking.

Speak deliberately, but not so slowly that you sound robotic. Often, when speaking in public, people may become nervous and start rushing their speech.

In such situations, it’s essential to slow down and take deep breaths to stay calm and articulate your words properly. Remember that your words have value and people want to hear what you have to say.

To ensure clarity and diction, it’s crucial to finish each word completely before starting the next one. By doing this, you’ll create enough space between words, allowing everyone to understand you correctly. The human ear can perceive a lot of information quickly, and speaking at a reasonable pace will help your audience comprehend your speech effectively.

7. Breathing correctly is essential for good speech clarity, just like a singer who pays attention to his breathing while performing.

To improve your speech clarity, you need to breathe properly while speaking (1). You can try placing one hand on your belly and the other on your chest while taking deep breaths, focusing on the movement of your belly rather than your chest.

This technique ensures that you take deep, full breaths, which is essential for speaking with a full voice. Start speaking at the top of your breath, and let your breath slowly and steadily leave you as you speak. This technique will help your breath support your words, enabling you to speak with confidence and clarity.

8. When there is excess saliva in the mouth, it can cause the consonants such as “S” and “K” to be distorted, leading to mumbling.

Swallowing the saliva will help you maintain clarity in your speech. Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to take a brief pause and breathe before continuing.

It’s best to swallow when you finish a sentence or complete a thought rather than in the middle of a sentence. This way, you can prepare for the next sentence or thought.

9. Take a moment to gather your thoughts before you start speaking, whether you’re having a conversation with a friend or giving a speech.

This will help you speak clearly and avoid speaking too quickly. Clarity doesn’t only come from properly forming words; it’s also important to articulate your message or point of view accurately. To do so, it’s crucial to know what you want to say so you don’t have to pause or use filler words like “um,” “like,” or “uh.”

10. If you have a speech or a presentation to give, it is helpful to practice it while walking around.

This technique is also used by actors to memorize their lines because movement can aid in memory retention. As you practice, try to take one step for every word you say.

While this may feel slow and laborious at first, it can help you slow down and speak more clearly. You don’t have to maintain this slow pace when you actually give your speech, but it can help you feel comfortable taking your time and improve your speech clarity.

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11. When we encounter difficult-to-pronounce words, we may rush through them and end up with unclear speech.

The solution is to practice these words repeatedly until we can pronounce them correctly without stumbling. Some words, such as “Squirrel”, “Brewery”, “Phenomenon”, and “February”, are especially challenging because they don’t sound like how they are spelled.

To overcome this, we can try breaking down these words phonetically and practice saying them out loud until we feel confident. This practice will help us speak with confidence and clarity.

12. You can improve the clarity of your speech by doing exercises that relax and strengthen your jaw muscles.

Here are some exercises that can help:

  • Start by humming gently and making wide chewing motions with your jaw.
  • Stretch your jaw muscles by opening your mouth as wide as possible and moving your jaw in circles and sideways.
  • Repeat the motion of opening and shutting your mouth 5 times.
  • Finally, make a buzzing sound by pressing your lips together, but without clenching your jaw. These exercises can help you speak more clearly and confidently.

13. Your posture can greatly impact the clarity of your speech, yet it’s something that is often overlooked.

To ensure the best speech clarity, stand up straight with your shoulders pulled back and your weight distributed evenly. Performing shoulder rolls and standing side bends can also help improve your posture, as well as your breathing. These exercises can be done in conjunction with jaw strengthening techniques for maximum benefit.

14. To ensure your voice is prepared for speaking, it’s important to do some warmup exercises to loosen up your vocal chords.

These exercises help you speak with clarity and confidence. Even if you’re not a singer, doing some simple scales or humming can be helpful. You can also try reciting tongue twisters while singing.

Another effective exercise is to make “Whooos!” going up and down. Visualize your voice as a ferris wheel going round and round to help you modulate your tone and pitch. Lastly, humming and gently patting your chest can help clear any phlegm or mucus buildup in your throat.

15. Speaking with clenched teeth can put a lot of strain on your jaw and can be a sign of stress.

Additionally, it can hinder your ability to enunciate and speak clearly. To avoid this, it’s important to practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises.

If you catch yourself clenching your jaw, take a moment to do some vocal warmups and relax your facial muscles (2). Try exhaling slowly, allowing your breath to blow your cheeks out like a deflating balloon.

16. To keep your vocal cords in good shape, it’s important to stay hydrated.

Drinking plenty of water is essential, as it helps to keep your vocal cords lubricated and working properly. You can also gargle with lukewarm water and a pinch of salt to help relax your throat muscles and reduce tension. This simple practice can be especially helpful before giving a speech or presentation, or if you’re experiencing any vocal strain or discomfort.

Improving clarity of speech can be achieved by taking various steps, such as practicing jaw exercises, repeating words that are hard to say, staying hydrated, and avoiding speaking with clenched teeth. Vocal warmups, watching your posture, and knowing what you’re going to say are other ways to improve speech clarity.

Additionally, walking while practicing your speech, relaxing your jaw, and avoiding excess saliva can also help. By following these steps, one can enhance their speech clarity, convey their message more effectively, and improve their communication skills.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to improve your clarity of speech. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here