Articulation Matters: How Good Is Yours?

Posted on Posted in Diction

When you address an audience, do you think your articulation has value? The only answer is most definitely yes. If your audience cannot understand you or misses a word or a phrase here and there, then they are missing your message. And, if they are missing your message, then it doesn’t matter how dynamic your delivery or how well-crafted your presentation because a lost message is lost business.

Aside from Toastmasters or a public speaking class, the majority of speeches and presentations being made today are for the purpose of selling. Whether you are a political candidate, an entrepreneur, a member of a leads club, or a motivational speaker, the purpose of public speaking usually involves selling something – an idea, a product, or your book at the back of the room.

If you expect to be successful, then your audience must be able to understand every word you say, not just some of them.

Poor articulation can occur for a number of reasons. You may speak with an accent or a dialect. You may mumble or possibly you speak too softly and your audience cannot physically hear you. Poor articulation can also occur if your voice trails off at the end of the sentence because you have run out of air. Then again, you may slur your words, making your speech unintelligible.

Many of my clients who have not spoken distinctly were unaware of this fact until they heard and saw themselves on a recording. One man was confident that his wife was just being difficult because she constantly complained about his mumbling. Once he saw and heard himself on video, however, he then recognized what she had been saying for all those years. He changed that habit overnight – literally. When I saw him for his next class, he spoke clearly with a beautifully deep, rich voice and I could hear and understand every word he said.

If others have difficulty understanding you, record yourself and study the playback so that you can hear that which is interfering with your articulation. Then, decide to improve that aspect of your delivery and change your negative habits into positive ones.

  • If you speak with an accent, there is no need to eliminate it, just clean it up and learn to control your speed and volume.
  • Should you mumble or slur your words, practice opening your mouth when you speak and concentrate on listening to yourself as you say your words. One of the best exercises to improve lazy or poor diction is to exaggerate your articulation in practice in order to accustom yourself to moving your mouth when you speak.
  • If your voice trails off at the end of your sentences, learn to breathe with support so that you have a better air supply and use pauses to supplement your breathing.

Being able to speak clearly not only increases your likelihood of success but also makes you sound more intelligent. Say your words distinctly and you can be confident that others will not only hear you but understand you as well.


Visit The Voice Lady’s website and see how you can not only improve your articulation but discover a deeper, richer, more mature-sounding voice in the process!