You can have the most brilliant speech, with great ideas and a wonderful layout, but without proper diction the meaning will be lost. Words don’t do you or your audience much good if they cannot be understood.
Good diction is vital in coming across in a clear and effective manner, especially when using dictation microphones. A speaker with great diction is much easier to understand and comprehend than one with poor diction. Read below to discover some ways you can improve your diction with our enunciation tips.
Tongue twister exercises
It is common practice to recite phrases full of alliteration, known as tongue twisters, as a warm up and speech practice exercise.
These tongue twister enunciation exercises are by far the easiest way to begin working on improving your diction. Start off by reciting the phrase slowly, being careful to pronounce every word clearly and loudly.
Once you are able to recite the phrase without trouble, begin increasing the rate at which you speak until you find it impossible to continue speaking clearly.
Try it with this phrase: “Sally sold sea shells on the sea shore”. You can find a lot of tongue twisters online for free, or come up with your own phrases to use.
Emphasize mouth movements
It is often hard for people struggling with articulation to figure out exactly what the issue is. Do not give up hope!
It is easy to vastly improve diction just by focusing more on the exact movements of the tongue and mouth. Find a mirror, and speak aloud several sentences. Focus on the movements that your mouth makes when creating certain sounds.
Try saying the same sentences while barely moving your mouth. Now, try to say the sentences again but with greatly exaggerated mouth movements. You should notice a distinct difference in the three tests.
Focusing on clear and readable mouth movements helps to foster proper diction.
Imitate good public speakers
A great way to improve your diction is to listen the the way popular public speakers articulate. Good examples are politicians, celebrities, and radio hosts.
Listen to the way they emphasize specific sounds in words, and try to imitate it when you speak in public.
An easy way to do this is by playing a brief clip of a public speaker, paying close attention to the diction, and attempting to repeat exactly what the speaker said.
This can be done while watching television or listening to the radio on the way to work, so it is a good practice exercise for someone with limited time available.
Slow and steady
Habits are hard to break, and a particularly nasty one that many people struggle with is speaking too fast.
It is much better to speak slowly and clearly than fast and with slurred words. Listen to famous presidents speak; the ones who are known for their articulation tend to speak slower.
Speaking slowly has the added benefit of sending a message of intelligence and thoughtfulness, just be careful not to speak too slowly!
Track your progress!
As with any skill, it is important to track your learning progress so you can see how far you have come!
Try recording yourself speak every month or week and come back to listen to it later on. It can be very encouraging to hear the improvements in articulation.
Follow the enunciation tips outlined in this article, and in no time you can improve your diction to the level of the most eloquent public speakers around.