Clear messages – clear statements – clear articulation
Sloppy diction is a teenager’s prerogative. Teenies are allowed to grunt half-finished sentences through their chewing gum. – This is an expression of their disorientation and their scorn towards regimented adulthood. That’s the way it should be.
But grownups who have found their path, established an attitude towards life, made decisions, and have attained inner clarity, express themselves clearly and distinctly. The wonderful effect of this is that – just by the way of speaking – it helps others orient themselves. If you mumble or swallow words or parts of sentences, or replace individual sounds by easier ones, you signal that you cannot speak clear text.
This is why articulation is the (speaking) tool of managers.
The meaning of consonanting
But how can we learn to sound clear and decisive if we feel too hesitant and too willing to compromise or unsure in certain situations?
The magic word is: consonating. Consonants are the information carriers in our language and make it much easier for others to listen. If you pronounce a t, a p or a k distinctly, and let an m, a w or an n sound soothing and don’t mumble your b and d, your message will be heard, understood and remembered. There are a number of nice exercises to train the lazy articulation muscle in order to get a feeling for good diction. – Yes! J Fitness doesn’t stop at speaking tools, either!
“Moanin!”, “Ah cannu cum.”, “Dee-all!”, “Can ah arsk yer for a layda poinment?” This and similar would be the orthography of poor articulation. It’s very hard to read. When we listen, our brains fill in the blanks and correct mistakes to be able to understand. This takes time and energy, because hearing is not necessarily understanding. Our ears hear the spoken word (very rarely all of it – also because there are other internal and external noise sources) transmit it to the hearing processor where our “computer” interprets what was heard and compares it with similar sounds, and – finally – we understand what we are able to understand based on our experience values. We hear selectively and understand projectively …so basically, not the best prerequisites for verbal communication.
So the easier we make it for other ears and brains, the better our statements will hit the mark as we wish them to. Because that’s the next crux about lame or casual statements: they are perceived as lame and casual. Or unsure. Or hasty and unimportant. … But isn’t everything you say important? Don’t you want your words to carry the weight they deserve? I now ask you, somewhat provocatively but benevolently: Why should others take your statements seriously, if you yourself do not?
You have probably noticed this about yourself already: the more assertive you become, the more clearly you speak. You can observe this step by step. From a half-hearted “We could go to the Italian …?!” to the stronger “Why is the light on again in the kitchen?“ through to the quiet but very distinct: “I’ve nnever heard anything sso ri:di:culous in my life!”
You can put this ability to good use. Take clear articulation and mix it with pleasantness! That way you can sound determined AND friendly at the same time – appreciative of others without compromising your own position: “I know it will be fan:tastic!”
When you articulate more precisely, statements become more precise, too. Why? Because what you say is more to the point and unambiguous. And this means you don’t have to drone on, your statements become shorter and clearer and you get to the point much faster. As a result, speaking becomes more satisfying for you because you’ve expressed yourself clearly. And it’s better for the people listening to you, too, because they are led professionally through your topic and don’t have to work hard to be able to follow you.
Try it out for yourself! I’m sure you will enjoy it.
That was it with the BusinessMind blog series with voice expert Petra Berger – I hope you enjoyed it and you could throw a few quick looks into the world of the importance of your voice!
Here’s the two other parts of the series again: part one on the right posture as well as part two on intonation and speech melody.
A big THANK YOU to Petra, whos inputs were super interesting!! If you wanna leave some feedback for her, please feel free to do so in the comments section!!