How to Enunciate to Engage Your Audience
A key tenet of sales is to make it easy for your prospective customers to buy from you. Making the process too convoluted, it’s believed, increases the likelihood that the buyer will become confused or frustrated and ultimately opt out of the buying process.
The same is true when it comes to public speaking. If we, as speakers, confuse or frustrate our listeners, they won’t buy what we’re selling – be it a product, service, or message.
However, many of us unknowingly make it difficult for our listeners to, well, listen. One of the ways we do this is by not speaking clearly. Instead, we garble words and syllables.
Not enunciating can happen for a variety of reasons including habit, aging, and not giving it much thought. But you should be giving it thought because it matters.
Listen to your presentations, are you speaking clearly? Are you making it easy for your listeners to buy what you’re selling? If you speak clearly … kudos! If you don’t or want to speak even more clearly, here are some exercises you can do.
- Tongue twisters. Say various tongue twisters repeatedly. Growing up with a lisp and a stutter, I had to say these ad nauseam. I hated them. But they helped. Ironically, I sang using the Three Stooges B-A-Bay song over and over again, not realizing I was actually practicing a tongue twister.
- Bite a pencil. When you speak while clamping down on a pencil, it takes a great deal of effort to form words. Give it a try. It won’t be easy at first … heck, it won’t be easy after a lot of practice, but it will be worth it.
- Anchor your tongue. By keeping the tip of your tongue pressed against the back of your lower teeth, you exercise other areas of your tongue, your jaw, and your lips.
- Over enunciate. As we get older, our jaw, lips, and tongue aren’t as toned as they used to be. So, just like any other part of our body, we have to work them out to keep them in shape. Here’s what I suggest. As you drive, read signs out loud, over-enunciating each syllable. You’ll be amazed how quickly your mouth gets tired. But please don’t let this distract you from driving.
- Read out loud. When you read a book, magazine, or even on the computer, read out loud and clearly. This not only helps with enunciation, but also helps with inflection, tone, and other voice qualities that are important to public speakers. And if you have the opportunity, read to your children or grandchildren. You’ll benefit, and so will they.
There are many other exercises you can do. Simply search online for enunciation exercises. Find those that work for you and make them part of your routine. You’ll speak more clearly, and your audiences will be more likely to by what you’re selling.