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Articulating, A Habit Worth Developing

4 years ago

Articulating is habit worth developing.

Few things about a speaker detract more from their speaking persona than careless, sloppy, slovenly talking. Every speaker of every language should consciously decide to improve "your" articulation. I am a firm believer that we only get one chance to make a 1st impression. You might choose to wear tattered jeans, poor-boy specs, and a black turtle neck shirt as your uniform, your audience will not care – the 1st thing they "will" notice is how you articulate when you start to speak.

What is articulation? According to Dictionary.com, “Articulation is the act of expressing something in a coherent verbal form, or an aspect of pronunciation involving the articulatory organs.”

A good, controlled voice is an asset in every contact with others. A natural voice which projects cordiality, cultivation, and authority is a significant tool for personal success. It can help in gaining promotions, making sales, winning the respect of others, and improving your social opportunities.

Voice relaxation, Projecting, Pitch Control, and breathing are areas every speaker should learn to perfect, but for now, let’s talk a little about articulation.

I produce an American English Pronunciation audio MP-3 workshop and devote a lot of time recording the audio portion of the lessons; 35 separate workshops with each workshop containing two hundred words pronounced three times each along with two hundred sentences to help students understand the words as well as pronounce them, and for them to also get a sense of English intonation, rhythm, and pitch; of course, throughout the recording sessions I must be constantly aware of my articulation of every word.
When I am among my friends drinking a beer, or chewing the fat, I do not speak in the same voice as I do when speaking to my mentees, students, and general audience. When I am working, every word that comes out my mouth must be a role model of the word for my listener to emulate; and is intended to affect the listener in a specific manner.

When you speak in a meeting or in any situation where your objective is to influence, you must be aware of your articulation and the message your voice is conveying.

To improve your articulation, you must first decide that you are going to be careful with your speech. You are going to be your best – no more careless, sloppy, slovenly talking as if you are with your friends slugging one down.

Next, you must exercise your jaw to open your mouth fully when you speak, your mouth must be capable of opening fully. You might as well talk with your hand in front of your mouth as to talk with teeth and lips half closed. Open your mouth and speak in an appropriately loud voice.

Third, loosen your tight lazy lips. Work to make your lips flexible, wrap your lips around your words as if each word were a color and you are Michael Angelo painting the Sistine Chapel.

Fourth, teach your tongue to keep its place. This is less difficult, because the tongue usually acts without your conscious direction. But if it gets in the way of your words, you must consciously make it respond to your demands. There are tongue exercises for speakers, learn some and practice them.

And fifth, practice. Every time you speak, remind yourself to speak each word well.
Your speech muscles must be trained and exercised just as you would train your body’s other muscles for athletic activity.

I have been pressed for time to post as I would like to but I'll keep you posted so you can all tune into my YouTube channel, American English Ready Set Go! English Pronunciation Workshops. Each English pronunciation workshop will focus on one English sound and present you with 50 words and sentences using the target sound. American English Ready Set Go is -phonics based and each YouTube lesson is about 30 minutes in length.

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Mentor Josephan P. Sterling
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Mentor Josephan

United States
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