How can someone speak fluently without thinking
Improve speaking technique: 8 successfully tested exercises
The voice is an impressive instrument. It can express a person's state of mind and influence how others perceive it. It is the most important tool when it comes to delivering a good, compelling speech. After all, good speeches not only live from coherent content, but also from a good speaker. It brings life to a text and can only be haunting and convincing with the right articulation and emphasis. The following article will help to avoid such mistakes, gives helpful speaking tips and is the first step on the way to a convincing speaking technique.
No more fear of the next speech: How to improve your speaking technique
Practice different speaking techniques to find the right one for you © FrameStockFootages - Shutterstock
Giving good speeches can be learned. Those who train their speaking technique with specific exercises not only improve their ability to articulate correctly and to deliver impressive speeches in front of a large audience. Even in everyday life, a powerful voice can radiate sovereignty and improve your own assertiveness. The exercises can be carried out on your own and help to avoid the following mistakes that an inexperienced speaker makes during a speech:
- He speaks too fast.
- He speaks too slowly.
- He speaks tightly.
- His voice is too monotonous.
- He emphasizes wrong.
- He speaks up unnaturally.
- He speaks too softly.
- He's talking too loud.
- He's messing up.
What makes the human voice so special?
The human voice is created by sound produced by the vocal folds in the larynx. Beyond pure technology, it can say a lot about how someone is perceived by others. In this way, people with a deep voice are perceived as level-headed and competent. If you have a high voice, you quickly come across as hysterical. Less assertiveness is ascribed to these people. In addition, people can be perceived as likeable or unsympathetic simply because of their voice.
Although the voice color is biologically determined for each person, the correct articulation and speech style as well as the use of the voice can be trained. The voice works like a muscle. If you work with it a lot and practice consciously on a regular basis, you can change and directly influence its effect on other people. In preparation for a speech, you should actively use your voice. With various exercises you can prepare yourself for the big performance and get through a speech confidently with a sophisticated speaking technique.
8 exercises for better speaking technique
1. Train peritoneum breathing: more resonance, more safety
Breathing has a great influence on speaking. It can be trained to speak and it affects the perception of the voice. Abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing in particular should be practiced as it is ideal for speeches and lectures. The air is not only inhaled and exhaled into the chest, but also sucked down into the stomach and released again.
This has amazing effects:
- The voice volume is increased naturally.
- When speaking, pauses can be taken without interrupting breathing.
- The resonance of the voice comes from the whole upper body and not just from the neck.
Therefore, before giving a speech, diaphragmatic breathing should be improved. As you speak, notice the springing back of the abdomen and then the filling with air. A little tip: Any passage from the speech or from a book can help you practice. Read the words aloud. It is important to pay attention to your breathing. Take a short breath after every fifth word. Then the sentence is repeated and the breathing space is set after four words. In the last attempt, there is a pause after three words. In this way the way of speaking is slowed down by itself.
- You automatically become calmer in excited situations.
- The vocal cords are spared.
- The voice seems more controlled and a little deeper.
2. Reading aloud improves speaking skills
Reading out loud can also generally be useful to improve speaking technique. It helps to practice slow speaking as well as clear, correct articulation. It also trains the voice and loosens the muscles in the mouth. Different pitches and types of speech can also be practiced while reading aloud. It is not so important which texts are used to practice speaking. In order to develop a feeling for your own speaking speed, you should read texts aloud regularly.
Proceed as follows:
- First, the text is read aloud without thinking. No attention is paid to breathing.
- Then the focus is placed on abdominal breathing. The text is read out again. Punctuation marks are taken into account and pauses are consciously incorporated. Do you feel the change?
- It is best to pick up reading aloud. Every smartphone has an integrated dictation device with which it is also possible to play back what has been recorded. Listening to yourself helps to identify potential for improvement.
3. Analyze your own speaking technique with a video
A video can also be useful to improve your speaking technique. Filming yourself reading something or delivering a speech highlights any weaknesses. To check your own posture and analyze mouth movements, it helps to observe yourself. A video can also be used to see how confident you appear. Are you looking at the floor all the time or is your gaze straight and open towards the listener? Friends, your partner or a professional speaking trainer can also give you valuable feedback.
4. Speaking exercises: Practice correct articulation by reading aloud
Reading aloud not only improves the speed of speech. It also helps in practicing correct articulation. Words and texts with a particularly large number of consonants are particularly suitable for this. For example: Katrin can't open Kati's crooked box.
The rest of the guests are already on their way to the starting point of the dust-dry desert. Sounds that are made with the teeth shape the precise pronunciation particularly strongly.
Practice correct articulation using words with particularly concise consonants:
- Riese - the R must be clearly audible here. It is best rolled in the front part of the palate.
- Bread - pronounce the "BR" clearly and shape the "t" with your teeth.
- Brave - A clear “t” at the beginning, a neatly articulated “pf” in the middle and the end with a clearly audible “he”, not an “a” -like sound.
Pronouncing these words several times in a row can be instructive. Pay attention to different length accentuations, practice rolling the "R" in the front of the mouth and be careful not to swallow a syllable. Vowels should also be articulated precisely for better speaking technique. Sculpting them with exaggerated mouth movements will help practice their clear pronunciation.
Practice articulating correctly with the following exercise:
- The "A" is pronounced with the mouth wide open.
- For the "O", the mouth is shaped very round.
- For the "E" it is stretched out.
Holding vowels long also promotes clear pronunciation. Holding a loud “E” or “U” for at least 10 seconds trains the muscles that are necessary for correct articulation. In addition, the voice volume is trained. Repeatedly pronouncing tongue twisters can also help improve your speaking technique. They often contain many consonants and require very deliberate, slow, and articulate speaking.
Examples of well-known tongue twisters:
Through targeted practice in articulating correctly, especially with tongue twisters, you improve your speaking technique and no longer get tangled up © fizkes - Shutterstock
- Fritze fisherman fishes fresh fish. Fischers Fritz fishes fresh fish.
- Red cabbage remains red cabbage and a wedding dress remains a wedding dress.
- Two talkative swallows are chirping between two plum tree branches.
Pronounce the tongue twisters slowly at first and then faster and faster. Not getting tangled up is challenging. The workout not only helps you learn how to articulate correctly, but it is good for the brain and mouth muscles as well.
Exercises to loosen the vocal cords:
- To relax the vocal folds, you can yawn with your mouth closed.
- Mimicking different sounds also helps loosen up the vocal cords: mimicking a motor, a razor, or a horse. First try only the sound in the mouth, without the voice. Take a while to add the voice and feel the difference.
- Bringing the tongue into different sound positions in the closed mouth also relaxes the muscles. Try to form an “ü” and an “i” behind the teeth and notice the small but subtle difference.
5. Punctuation marks help develop a confident speaking technique
The punctuation marks already mentioned are an important point when it comes to your own speaking technique and correct articulation. Punctuation marks not only control the flow of text when reading. They should also be given attention when speaking. Meant are, for example: commas, exclamation marks, question marks, dashes or periods. All of these punctuation marks invite small pauses within the sentence or section, which should also be taken into account when speaking. This makes the content presented appear much more lively for the audience. For the speaker, the text becomes more structured and easier to read.
6. Avoid filler words
Avoid filler words like “Uh” or “Ehm” between sentences. They add nothing to the content of the speech and speak for embarrassment. If you listen to actors, presenters or audiobook speakers, you will notice that they never use filler words (unless an acting role allows them to). Even empty phrases like “I would say” or “I would think” or filler words like “so” have no added value for a speech. Consciously avoiding these filler words can also be consciously practiced in the run-up to a speech and has a positive effect on your own speaking technique. In addition, you appear more competent and self-confident when you present the content of your speech fluently. Too many filler words create the impression that you are unfamiliar with your own speech. With some rhetoric tips, you can use filler words in a conscious and charming manner. It is important to get some empty phrases in advance.
7. Improve your speaking technique by listening
In order to optimize your own speaking technique, it is not only important to practice the correct articulation and breathing as well as to read aloud. Just listening can also be very insightful and help improve speaking skills.
You can learn a lot for your own speaking technique from television or radio presenters, actors or voice actors and famous speakers (politicians are often present in the media). They have all already taken the step in front of the audience and are very likely preparing for their performance.
Just listening to them, paying attention to their intonation, and analyzing where they pause, raise or lower their voices can be very instructive. You can also practice with audio books. You notice that the way professional speakers speak is very different from everyday speech.
- The emphasis is different.
- The articulation is clearer.
- The speaking is done very consciously.
- Speaking is very calm.
- Syllables are not simply swallowed.
- The words are clearly and distinctly formed.
- No filler words are used.
Audiobook speakers and moderators in particular also deliberately speak very slowly. This does not apply to sports presenters, as they are interested in commenting on an ongoing event. So you are not a good example. Moderators on the radio or on TV news programs make it clear what slow and properly articulate speech is all about. If you want to convey specific information and communicate messages, speaking speed is one of the most central tools.
Only when speaking at a slow pace does the listener have the chance to absorb and process all of the words. Anyone who is overwhelmed by an avalanche of words cannot possibly process all the content conveyed. It is not about lulling the listener with a monotonous voice. Rather, what is meant is a calmness with which the speaker strides through his speech and which he radiates with every sentence.
Frequent listening to moderations, professional speakers or audio books sharpens the understanding of the correct articulation and speaking technique. In comparison, consciously paying attention to the speaking technique of the other person in an everyday conversation illustrates the differences.
These peculiarities stand out:
- Swallowed syllables.
- Contracted words.
- A dirty pronunciation.
- Incorrectly formed vowels and consonants.
- Too fast a pace.
- Filler words like "Eh" or "Um".
Despite these characteristics, this type of speech is not perceived as uncomfortable because it is familiar and is used almost exclusively in everyday life. However, in order to correctly articulate one's thoughts in a monologue in front of an audience, to convey a message and to discuss arguments, it is not suitable, as it often pursues other goals.
8. Time is the key to sophisticated speaking technique
For fear of taking a speech too long, perhaps boring the audience with your own content, and also out of nervousness, speeches are often spoken too quickly. An inner hustle and bustle drives you to speak quickly. “I don't have time” or “We all don't have time” are sentences that many people have internalized in such a way that they have a negative effect on speaking technique. Human communication is essential and the ability to play with words and to convince is a central instrument in the exchange with others.
Taking the time to talk, to enjoy conversations and also to consider giving a speech in front of an audience as a privilege can change your own inner attitude.
This basic attitude has a positive effect on one's own speaking technique, as there is more inner calm. Your voice will automatically slow down and you will articulate correctly - the pace of speaking will calm down by itself. You automatically convey persuasiveness and assertiveness when the hectic atmosphere does not appear.
Important steps to improve your speaking technique when preparing for a speech
Know the text: In the course of preparing a speech, it is important to know your own text well. It should be divided into sections of meaning. It makes sense to think carefully in advance where breaks should be included. For correct articulation and a confident presentation, your own text must be known exactly. Only those who are familiar with the content have the opportunity to focus their attention on their own voice. You should always use pauses in a text. They are a welcome invitation to take a breather, slow down your speech and take a deep breath. If there is a special emphasis, it should be noted in the notes. It is helpful to highlight words and sentences by circling or underlining them in order not to forget the correct articulation and the different accentuations in the course of the speech.
Keep it simple: The more complex the content, the simpler the language. Every speaker should take this mantra to heart and consider it when preparing his or her speech. Stumbling over one's own foreign words or tapeworm sentences does not make a good impression and also distracts the audience from the essentials. Simple, clear sentences without many ramifications as well as occasional appeals keep the audience happy. Avoiding foreign words also pays off, as attention drifts when the content of speech is expressed too complicated. A professional expression speaks for competence, but the conveying of the content should be in the foreground in a speech.
Practice intonations: You should also practice raising or lowering your voice at the right moment. During a speech you can use these means to play with the audience's attention. Deliberately speaking faster passages can convey a certain drama, hectic rush or panic. Speaking other sentences very slowly is haunting. If the voice is then lowered or raised in the right places, the message to be conveyed is more likely to reach the audience. Speakers who can play with intonations are also perceived as competent and engaging, as those who remain monotonous in one pitch.
Include a warm greeting: At the beginning you should greet the audience positively and openly in order to pull them under the spell of the speaker.A smile on the lips carries over to the spoken words and is also well received by the audience. The same applies to saying goodbye after a speech. Even if the content is serious or even dramatic, the speaker should always try to build a good relationship with the audience through friendliness.
The corking exercise: This exercise is very popular with professional speech trainers. Because: Reading your own speech with a cork between your teeth can be very instructive. What sounds strange and also looks strange has a big effect: Forming the words with the foreign body in the mouth is challenging, but sharpens the understanding of the correct articulation, intonation and pronunciation. In addition, the muscles in the mouth become looser, the voice becomes more open and the subsequent presentation of the speech without a cork will seem like an easy exercise. The corking exercise is suitable both in preparation for a speech and as regular speaking training in between. You can also use this method just before your speech to loosen up your muscles just before the big performance.
Hoarse: And now?
Hoarseness is every speaker's greatest enemy. If the voice is busy, not at full volume, and speaking is strenuous, speech is at risk. Both colds and voice overload can lead to hoarseness.
If you are struggling with hoarseness a few days before giving a speech, it is best to use your voice as gently as possible. Many people whisper when they are hoarse so as not to strain their voice. Whispering makes everything worse and demands the voice even more. It is best not to speak at all or as little as possible during the days of hoarseness. This is the only way for the voice to recover quickly. Drinking a lot also helps. Sage tea or sweets moisten the vocal cords and a glass of water with some dissolved salt keeps them supple.
Practice correct posture
The following posture helps to appear confident and also to get the most out of your own voice:
- Position your feet hip-width apart and distribute the weight equally on both legs.
- Then loosen your knees and bend them very slightly. This shifts the weight to the entire foot.
- The back straightens up.
- Your arms should hang loosely next to your body.
- Loosen the lower jaw and do not press it against the upper jaw.
- Do not press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, but leave it loosely in your mouth.
This posture makes breathing deeper. The facial muscles relax and the entire posture appears open, upright and confident. Scratching your head during the speech or clearing your throat three times during the greeting and standing in front of the audience with your arms crossed will make the entire speech difficult. A good speaking technique means that the whole body is involved. The more you practice this, the better it will work on stage. And believe it or not: If you are vocally well prepared, the stage fright will also be reduced.
The big day is here: These 5 tips speakers should keep in mind
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It is quite normal for an adrenaline rush to go through your body in the first few seconds on a stage in front of an audience. It is difficult to prepare for this because it is a spontaneous reaction. Of course, it helps to already have experience in giving speeches, as you will be able to cope better with the situation from time to time. But even if it's the first time, with a lot of preparation and a well-rehearsed speaking technique, you can convince the audience and even get them carried away. The only important thing is that you stay calm. A sip of water can help suppress stage fright, as can taking deep breaths. The adrenaline makes you speak too fast and too high. You should be prepared for this in order to be able to take active countermeasures.
Speaker and speech must be a unit
An audience always perceives a speech in the context of the speaker. Speech and speaker are inextricably linked. The most interesting content becomes worthless with a bad speaker. On the other hand, a good speaker can hardly make up for a bad speech. While the preparation of the content of the speech is important in order to convince on the factual level, good speaking technique is important in order to convince people and convey the factual content confidently. Working on the speech technique therefore also has a direct effect on the perception of the content.
Constant speaking exercises improve the speaking technique permanently
Those who constantly work on their speaking technique and also refine their breathing and voice outside of specific speech preparation will, over time, bring lectures to the stage without any effort. Abdominal breathing is not automated by the correct posture, but completely automatically and you can call up a full and powerful voice at any time. The more you internalize the exercises, the more the entire speaking technique changes. Speaking in front of an audience then no longer means that you first have to consciously call up the mechanisms you have learned. They run automatically because they have passed into the subconscious. Even the first rush of adrenaline cannot suppress them.
Working on your own speaking technique and fine-tuning the correct articulation can also be worthwhile apart from preparing for big speeches. To appear more open and confident in everyday dealings with other people is also positive.
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