Mumbling is when you don’t speak clearly or loud enough, so that it’s difficult for whoever you are speaking to, to hear your words. It’s a common issue that can make you appear less confident and authoritative, or cause communication issues at work. No one wants this, so here are 5 exercises to help you stop mumbling, and articulate clearly.
When a person mumbles, it can seem as though they don’t want to be heard, that they are in some way apologising for speaking. Or worse, that they are ashamed of what they are saying. And we don’t want that!
Communicating is about sending your breath, your unique voice and your ideas into the world and letting them claim their rightful space. Don’t be hard on yourself if you mumble; it happens to all of us. Instead, decide here and now that when you speak, you’ll speak to be heard, and speak with confidence, because you believe in what you're saying.
We have given tips before on how to speak so that people want to listen, but let’s first begin by looking at a few methods you can use right away to focus on speaking more clearly and avoiding mumbling.
1 - Train your mouth muscles
One tool to speak more clearly is to train your mouth muscles so that you enunciate better. It takes some practice, but this simple exercise will help your muscles get into gear and work a little harder for you. Put the knuckle of your thumb in your mouth and bite down gently. Then, using any reading material you have, read out loud and speak as clearly as you can. Do this for at least a minute a day and notice straight away after doing it how clear you sound.
Team this up with improving your vocal charisma and your speech will be much clearer and more engaging.
2 - The power of intention
Set your eyes on whatever is three metres in front of you right now. Whether it’s a wall, a chair or a tree, try and send your words crisply and clearly over to it. You can practice in your bedroom, and you'll find that just by sending your intention a little further, you'll crisp up those sounds in no time.
3 - Practice tongue twisters
A lot of mumbling is about not having enough muscular energy inside the mouth, which results in sloppy consonants. This exercise involves practising tongue twisters – focusing not on saying them quickly, but clearly. If you make the consonants pop, sizzle and snap, mumbling will soon be a thing of the past.
- Whether the weather is warm, whether the weather is hot. We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not
- Round and round the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran
- Betty bought a bit of butter but the bit of butter
bettybought was bitter
- Theo sifter, the thistle sifter, sifted a sieve of sifted thistles
4 - Tongue warm-ups
Take time for a daily tongue warm-up. Your tongue is mainly muscle and is responsible for articulating the sounds you make. Therefore, if it's lazy, it needs to do the tongue-equivalent of 20 press-ups!
- Swish your tongue clockwise around your mouth in front of your teeth, five times one way and five times the other way.
- Now push it against your finger and push back with your finger. This little battle will strengthen your tongue no end.
5 - Use a mantra to boost your confidence
Find a mantra for propelling your voice forward. It may be a single line, like “Because I deserve to be heard”. Whatever it is, use it to bolster your confidence when speaking and have it to hand in situations that make you mumble, and say it to yourself before you speak.
Pick and choose your exercises and say goodbye to the mumbles. Good luck and enjoy!