Often I find that unclear or poor diction is due to talking at 100 mph. It is certainly not uncommon to hear it in people in which English is not their 1st language; however, it can also occur for speakers in any language whether it is their mother tongue or a 2nd language.

Bear in mind that those who speak really fast are usually not aware of it. Their inner ear hears it as being clear and precise. Therefore, it is important for these people to listen to themselves on a recording, whether it is their voicemail, a camcorder, or some other form of recording equipment. One woman with whom I worked was stunned when she heard and saw herself on video: she thought was speaking clearly. She was not.

Speaking at 100 mph can be difficult to follow even if one’s diction is clear. My niece speaks much too quickly and after a few minutes, it is hard to keep your attention on her words. In fact, she recently Skyped my son who said that he got a headache during their 7-minute chat.

If it is frustrating to listen to someone who speaks distinctly at 100 mph, imagine the difficulty if that speed is produced with a heavy accent. When you can learn to control your speed, however, you will discover that your diction will be much improved because you will be more aware of how you say your words.

Here are 2 ways to learn how to control your speed:

    1. Audio Book Read out loud along with the professional reader from an audio book. In the beginning you will speak more quickly than the professional, believing that the reader is too slow. However, if you record yourself in the process, you will start to appreciate that you do indeed speak too fast and that the professional’s speed is correct.

    2. Voice Training When you discover your ‘real’ voice, you will not only gain total control over your speed but you will discover a richer, warmer, more mature sound. In addition, you will be able to increase your volume without shouting which means the elimination of vocal abuse. (Damage to the vocal cords is something to be avoided at all costs.)

Communication today is dependent on the ability to understand one’s diction. If your speed is the reason for your lack of clear speech, then it is to your advantage, both professionally and personally, to learn how to take control of your speed.

Author's Bio: 

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 on voice improvement. If you would like to see a dramatic 'before' & 'after' video clip, start with Craig in the center of the page at Nancy's Voice Training Website. Then check out other Before & After video clips in the menu bar.