A Fast Way to Improve Your Articulation

It’s amazing how sometimes you can find a good resource in the oddest places. I recently came across a children’s book that I found especially challenging to read out loud as it was full of tongue twisters. But before I get into that, let’s talk a little bit about tongue twisters.

Tongue twisters are short poems or rhymes loaded with words that have similar sounds. Sometimes the words all begin with similar sounds (alliteration), sometimes there’s a repetition of words that contain or end in similar sounds (consonance) and in some cases there are words spelled the same way but have different pronunciations (homographs). Some examples of tongue twisters include:

If You Only Listen to One PowerPoint Tip…

projectorThese days, many meeting rooms have built-in projectors and/or screens. Some even have built-in computers so the need to lug a laptop with you has essentially been eliminated. Let’s face it, a USB drive will fit even the largest of presentations and can fit on your keychain – plus it won’t hurt your back. But even though all this is there to make your life easy, it can also work against you. Unless you test your presentation on the exact equipment that you’ll be running it on, you’re running a huge risk.

Joe Wilson: Unprofessional or Brilliant?

Last night during President Obama’s speech, Representative Joe Wilson from South Carolina shouted “You lie!” in the middle of it. When I first heard about it, I kind of laughed to myself as I thought about how other countries have more spirited debates during these types of speeches. But then I thought a bit more about it and I felt that Rep. Wilson was, politics aside, both unprofessional and disrespectful. As I read the reactions later today, I started to believe that it was a bad idea for him to do that because his actions made him and his party look bad, and gave the other side ammunition and motivation that could change the momentum of the debate. But then as I sat down to write about it, I realized that Rep. Wilson’s outburst could only be described with one word: Brilliant.

Public Speaking Success: Are You a Smug Speaker?

In one of my “Overcome Your Fear of Public Speakingclasses, an attendee asked me why so many speakers come across as smug. I hadn’t really thought about this so I opened the discussion up to the rest of the class and was shocked by what I heard – many speakers come across as condescending, arrogant, cocky and yes, smug.

I listened to stories about people that call themselves corporate trainers taking the attitude that they were not only the smartest person in the room, but the only intelligent person in the room. Anyone that asked for clarification simply “didn’t get it.” Others shared tales of speakers confidently contradicting themselves or speakers arguing with audience members that questioned them.

How to Improve Your Articulation

clear water by Yarik MishinAre there words which you frequently stumble over while speaking? Do people have a tough time understanding what you’re saying? Is English not you’re first language? Well don’t worry because you’re not alone. Many people, including professional speakers, struggle with their articulation. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to work on improving the way you pronounce words.

There are two techniques that I highly recommend for those of us that desire better articulation. Both of these techniques not only help you speak more clearly, but they also have some added benefits.

The Radio Repeat:

Tips For Toastmasters: Speaking at Rotary and Other Service Clubs

dinner by thomas rolaSo you’ve got a speech that was a bit hit at your Toastmasters meeting and you feel it’s ready for prime time. So what’s the next step along the path to becoming a professional speaker? I recommend taking your show on the road and speaking to local service clubs.

Service clubs are a great way to test the waters for your presentation. They offer you a real audience that will give you real feedback. While Toastmasters clubs are a great venue for learning how to speak, the audiences at these meetings are quite forgiving.

My Will to Live, R.I.P.

graveThroughout my life I’ve had the chance to meet a wide variety of people. While the color of their skin, the language they speak or the entity they worship may differ, one thing is always the same — we all face challenges at different points in our lives. Of course, the way people handle those challenges varies but the good thing is that it’s something that we can control. And in many cases, it’s this way of handling challenges that dictates whether we stay in the game or go home in defeat.