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How to Stop Mumbling and Speak Clearly

Four Parts:Using better postureDealing with motivations for mumblingPracticing improving your
claritySpeaking clearly
Mumbling is when you speak so low or skimp on enunciation to the extent that people don't
understand what you're saying, and often ask you to repeat yourself. This can be an annoying habit,
but chances are that you already know how to speak without mumbling. You have probably had a
phone conversation when the connection was poor or spoken to somebody who was hard of hearing,
and in these situations you probably spoke loudly and clearly without even thinking about it. Can
you do that consciously and make it a habit? Here are some techniques to try.
Part 1 of 4: Using better posture
Stand up straight. Even if you're nervous, good posture will help to give the impression of
confidence. Good posture also helps to keep your airways open, so your breath can be stronger.
Sit comfortably so that you can also sit up straight. Tuck in your stomach when sitting and
push your spine upwards.
Part 2 of 4: Dealing with motivations for mumbling
Avoid nervousness. People who speak fast do it because they are not confident, or they are
nervous. Pretend not to be nervous and this will make you speak at normal speed.
Don't be afraid to say the wrong thing. You might; everyone does. Just correct yourself or move
on. It is a skill and some people are extremely gifted at it. If you need to practice, realize it is a skill
that you aren't particularly strong in but is something you can learn.
Part 3 of 4: Practicing improving your clarity
Listen. Listen to others who are good at speaking, such as radio and television announcers.
Notice how they pronounce words, at what speed they talk, and so on.
Practice. Talk into a tape recorder or use your computer with a microphone. Then, listen to your
recordings. Do take the opportunity to notice what is unintelligible, where your sentences trail off,
and so on.
Practice pronouncing words by reading things out loud and pronouncing every word correctly
and slowly. If you mumble, go back and repeat the sentence.
Practice some vowel sounds with a wide mouth.
Practice reading out loud at least 10 minutes a day.
Record some sentences. Use tests such as tongue twisters. Play it back and check your
pronunciation and enunciation problems. Try to remedy the errors you note with more practice.
Part 4 of 4: Speaking clearly
Open your mouth wider as you talk. Not as much sound will come out if it has to snake past your
closed teeth and lips first.
Articulate. Make sure you actually stop the air for consonants like 't' and 'b'. Differentiate
between your vowels.

Slow down. Talking too fast is a common symptom of nervousness, but it won't help your words
be understood.
Speak up. Aim to speak at least a little bit louder. You will automatically use more breath, and
you will probably slow down and articulate better in the process.
Speak with inflection. Questions should go up in pitch at the end. Statements should go down.
Notice, also, what syllables and words get emphasis. Try exaggerating your inflection, the way you
would if you were reading to a small child and hamming it up a little bit.
Support from your diaphragm. Use the muscles in your stomach to support your breath as you
speak. Even if you speak no more loudly, you will speak more clearly this way. Place a hand over
your stomach, just below your ribs. You should feel the muscles there move as you speak.
Sing. You don't have to sing while anybody is listening, but try singing alone in your shower or in
your car. You'll exercise your voice and get used to using it. You'll also learn about using air,
articulation, breath, and phrasing.
Shout. Don't squeak or scream or raise the pitch of your voice. Bellow. Keep your voice at about
its normal pitch and see how loud you can go. Cheering at a sporting event or talking over loud
music is an opportunity to practice, or you could just close the door. Notice how you control your
air when you shout.
Be confident. Have at least enough faith in the sentences you are saying to get them across
Be conscious of your speech. Every now and then, listen to yourself and notice how you're doing.
Before you speak, it helps if you're calm and confident. If you're excited sometimes you'll talk
faster and it will not be clear. Calm down, slow down, and think about what you want to say.
If you're nervous or uncertain, regard clear speech as a courtesy to your listener.
Ask a friend to listen to you as you read a sentence. Then have them tell you what you did good
and bad.
Try to speak louder than the person you are talking to.
Notice which words you struggle with, and repeat them loud and clearly, until you are able to say
them at a normal speaking pace.

Young performers face several challenges. For one, they must memorize lines. For another, they
must speak loud enough for Grandpa to hear them in the 22nd row. But perhaps the most daunting
challenge is learning how to slow down and enunciate.
No vocal warm-up is complete without reciting a few enunciation exercises. With that in mind, I
present 26 fundamentally fun tongue twisters. Each one provides an "elocution work out." Take a
few for a test drive. Say each line three or four times. But remember, do not worry about speed.
Focus on speaking clearly, even if you must over enunciate at first.
A - Around the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran.
B - Big black bug bit a big black bear and the big black bear bled black blood.
C - Can I cook a proper cup of coffee in a copper coffee pot?
D - Don't doubt the doorbell, but differ with the doorknob.
E - Eight gray geese in a green field grazing.
F - Fine white vinegar with veal.
The free thugs set three thugs free.
G - Grab the groundhog from the glazed grass.
Grey geese in a green field grazing.
H - High roller, low roller, lower roller.
How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
I - Inexplicably mimicking him hiccupping.
I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch
J - Jingle jungle jangle joker.
K - Knit kilts for nasty cold nights.
L - Little lucky luke likes lakes, lucky little luke likes licking lakes
M - Monkeys make monopoly monotonous.
N - The Next nest will not necessarily be next to nothing.
O - Octopi occupy a porcupine's mind.
Only royal oily royal oil boils
P - Peter Prangle, the prickly pear picker, picked three perfectly prickly pears.
A proper copper coffee pot.

Q - Queen Catherine wakes the cat, and the cat quietly cries.
R - Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers!
Roberta ran rings around the Roman ruins.
S - Some shun sunshine. Do you shun sunshine?
Six stick shifts stuck shut.
T - Three thick thistle sticks.
The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
U - Unique New York, Unique New York, Unique New York.
V - Venti, Grande, Tall - Very Grand Words for Large, Medium, Small.
W - Will's wetsuit is round and wet and rough and wide and ready to go on a watery ride.
Wayne went to Wales to watch walruses.
X - Xylophones exist or so existentialists insist.
Y - Yoda met a Yeti on the Plains of Serengeti.
Z - Zoologists illogically love to read astrology.