Today, good diction is on the decline. We are a nation of people who mumble, speak too quickly, or are generally too lazy to make the effort to speak clearly. In addition, we are the world’s largest melting pot with millions of people whose accent may be difficult to understand.
Assume that a prospective employer must decide between Candidate A whose diction is clear and concise and Candidate B whose diction is unclear. If the person doing the hiring constantly asks candidate B to repeat himself/herself, who do you think will get the job?
Communication in every business is paramount for the success of that business. Employers are not interested in those whose communication skills are lacking because it is unproductive and a waste of time and money.
The other day I spoke with a man from North Jersey. He talked so fast that I couldn’t keep up with him and I am a professional listener! In addition, because of his speed, he made a lot of mistakes and was constantly correcting himself. What did this man gain by speaking at 100 mph? Nothing. He wasted an inordinate amount of time, repeating himself and correcting himself. Had he spoken at a more moderate speed, we could have had a 10-minute conversation instead of one that lasted 20!
If you mumble, talk too fast (or too slow), or need some work in accent reduction, start today by recording yourself and analyzing the playback. (Record yourself in conversation, not from reading material.) Only when you can hear what you are doing or not doing, will you recognize why others may have difficulty understanding you. While I am an advocate of accents, anything which interferes with your diction should be worked on. Keep your accent – just clean it up.
Below are 2 ways in which you can improve your diction.
1. Practice with an audio book recording, trying to imitate the speech of the reader.
2. Take a course in voice training in which you learn to breathe with the support of your diaphragm. Two of the wonderful benefits of this type of training are that you will slow down your speed a bit and you will speak more distinctly.
Competition for employment today is fierce and the ability to be understood the first time you say it, could possibly land you the job you are seeking or the promotion you desire. Don’t let your lack of clarity in speaking be the deciding factor in who gets the job.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic or watch Nancy in a brief video as she describes Voice Power.