Speaking professionally and sounding articulate go hand-in-hand but they’re skills that don’t come naturally to most people. It takes practice to understand areas for improvement and identify weak points in your speech delivery. However, once you hone your speaking skills, they will serve as a great advantage to you in the real world. Here are three quick and easy ways to improve your speech delivery:
- Identify and diagnose any problems with your speech deliveryUse SpeakPulse or another speech evaluation tool to understand how many times you say um, you know, or like; how many times you stutter; and how many times you distract people with auxiliary noises like clearing your throat or taking very deep breaths. By identifying your problematic areas, you can then work on resolving the issues that were uncovered.
- Fix your weak areas
After identifying any issues with your speech delivery, practice speaking and focus on one area at a time – and don’t try to be a perfectionist. Take a book passage or an excerpt from an online speech. Rehearse the excerpt several times out loud, and start being conscious of the errors you previously made. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much – start small, like focusing on eliminating ums and other unnecessary fillers. Trying to tackle too much at once, such as normalizing the speed at which you speak while reducing stuttering, will only set you back. Once you feel that you have improved in one key area, practice one more time. Then, move on to the next weak point and repeat the process.
- Put your plan into action
At this point, you have identified and cleaned up several bad speech patterns. Now it’s time to test your refined speaking skills. The best way to do this is to be conscientious and observant during your daily interactions. For several days, while you’re communicating with co-workers, friends and family, focus on a weak point that you worked to improve, and try to incorporate that into the way you’re speaking. This could be on a conference call, talking a customer, working with a group or ordering dinner. Noticing your bad speech patterns and realizing that you’ve improved them, even in the slightest way, will give you a significant feeling of satisfaction. These real interactions will provide you with a live experiment. Suddenly, you notice that you are using ‘like’ less to preface your main point, or as an unnecessary filler between thoughts. You notice that you are mumbling less for extended periods of time. You notice that you are speaking slower and more controlled than before, when you were talking too fast and too sporadically. If you want to take it a step further, and understand how you’ve improved, use SpeakPulse to track your progress. If you’ve practiced and strengthened certain areas, it will be reflected in your new Speakpulse score. Using SpeakPulse Personal Scorecard, you can then start to see a trend of your scores over time – hopefully moving in a positive direction. Every bad speech habit or pattern are all things that take time to improve, precisely because they are habits. However, following the above process will get you on the road to diagnosing bad speech patterns, cleaning them up, and then putting your improved speech delivery into action.