21st Jul 2022
To speak clearly means that people can understand you easily. When you speak clearly, you don't get asked "could you say that again please?" Or, "I'm sorry, I couldn't understand what you said".
There are many reasons why your speech could be difficult to understand - you could mumble, speak quietly, not articulate certain sounds clearly (which also means your words aren't clear either), speak too quickly, not pause in the correct place — the list goes on and on.
If we choose one aspect, say, not articulating certain sounds clearly or correctly (for NZ English), clear diction isn’t just speaking clearly, it is articulating the sounds in each word clearly.
Even for those of us with English as a first language, we can speak poorly. Clear diction is the difference between "kinda" and the actual true and correct "kind of". Dunno – Don’t know. Gunna – going to. Wanna – want to. And the worst one of all "Yous". NOTE - you is singular and plural, there is no need to add an 's' on the end because that just makes you sound like a moron.
It’s the difference between unprofessional and professional speech.
It is important if you want to sound like you know what you are talking about, even if you don’t. It adds credibility and authority to your communications, especially if you’re not 100% confident.
Another aspect of unclear speech is mumbling. Mumbling is when you don't open your mouth wide enough to get the end of words and explosive consonants (T, D) out clearly, because it does take just that little bit more of an effort.
It could be the difference between being the stand out in an interview, or when you are asking for a pay rise, or if a promotion is up. While I may sound old and "not with it", consider who is offering you the job or who will authorise the pay rise or promotion. Consider your competition. What have they got to offer that you don’t? If you feel you are on par with them, then what are you going to have that puts you ahead of the rest?
Being able to articulate yourself professionally and rationally (especially during highly stressful times) is one of the top emotional intelligence (EI) competencies. In the past, a lot of the emphasis when evaluating potential performance has been on intellectual capacity. Now, research has indicated that EI is what differentiates the outstanding performers from the rest.
Does this sound a bit like you? Do you feel at the top of your game in terms of speech and communication? If you feel you could do with some tidying up of your diction and speech in general, there are a few simple exercises you can do to help with clear diction. Want to know more? Get in touch.