It’s definitely not a term we hear very often, yet it plays a vital part in every speech ever given on the planet. Enunciation, defined, is the act of pronouncing words and – believe it or not – there is actually an art to the process. Let’s look at a few tips that will help those of us who might be known for tripping over our own tongues.
Start by focusing on consonant-vowel combinations that give you pause. Certain words are more difficult to say aloud than others. We can overcome this pesky irritant by creating a list of our current offenders. Once we have ten or so words to focus on, we can participate in a routine meant to overcome.
Now repeat, repeat, repeat.
Norman Vincent Peale, known for his work concerning the power of positive thinking, tells us, “Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” Don’t expect the words to fall out like silk in the beginning. Remember this is your challenge list. Commit to persevere.
Practice tongue twisters.
There are loads of them listed on the internet. Begin as slowly as you must to say each syllable completely in each word. Work on building your speed from there. Here are three short ones to try now.
James just jostled Jean gently.
Round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran.
She sells seashells by the seashore.
It’s not just the words, but your expressions as well.
After you are feeling somewhat comfortable with your challenge list, it’s time to have a talk with your mirror. As you say your words, watch the movements of your mouth, jaw, tongue and lips. Make these movements as big and noticeable as possible. This will improve your enunciation even more!
Enunciation is a skill everyone can benefit from practicing, especially when they are planning to appear in public scenarios. Over a period of time, we can all improve our mumbling, bumbling mispronunciations and turn them into clear and impactful words. This extra effort can, in turn, take our overall speech capabilities to the next level.