Having a good diction always proves useful, from speaking in an interview to addressing a public gathering. The style, intonation and inflection of speech are what makes it aesthetic, defining our personality. As lawyers, clear diction becomes a necessity as our jobs involve talking to and talking on behalf of a lot of people.
The recent addition of using voice recognition and voice-to-text technologies such as Alexa, Siri and MySteno have raised the need for speech clarity because these software are programmed with words with their appropriate meaning and when not enunciated properly, tend to misinterpret it. In this blog, let us discuss some of the common mistakes we make when we dictate and how we can rectify them to sound better.
Common Mistakes We Make in Our Speech:
As we grow used to a language, we tend to go too fast and not bother to complete the sentences properly. Our pronunciations become weak and half of what we say ends up in the air, not reaching the receiver. Some common mistakes that we commit while talking are:
- Word usages such as goin’, comin’, shoulda, woulda, etc. have become too frequently used by a majority of people, which must be eliminated permanently
- Using words like you know, I mean, umm, err, etc. to fill in the gap kills the whole essence of your speech
- Repeating the same words while searching for words to fill in could be very annoying
- Fading your voice towards the end of the sentence could make the sentence incomplete and difficult to understand for others
- The wrong tone could also be very intimidating to others
- Mumbling while talking to someone could impersonate a bad image about yourself
The levels of voice:
There are 4 major levels of voice when we discuss speaking voices, namely:
- Nasal voice: The kind of voice that is too high pitched and squeaky, which often turns people off soon. These types of voices do not suit public movement
- Mouth voice: This type of voice has mild audibility but not powerful enough to steal the crowd. They are more often than not left unheard by others when they really try hard to be heard
- Chest voice: This type is just a level below is the best. People who use their chest voice are audible and pleasant enough for the listener
- Diaphragm voice: These voices are the best kind that commands the group and attracts attention instantaneously. This is considered to be “the voice of the leaders”.
General tips to improve diction:
Once we recognize the mistakes we do during our speech, it becomes easier to change them. Sometimes, the change is just a matter of correcting minor mistakes while other times, it may require eliminating a bad habit completely. Some tips to enhance your voice diction are:
- Maintaining a constant speed; being too fast could confuse the listener and being too slow could annoy them. There must be a balance in the speed that we talk in order for the listener to understand. A proper gap between words should also be given, enough for the listener to decode the message completely and interpret it in his mind.
- Proper breathing pattern; improper breathing while talking can either make your speech fade every now and then when you take deep breaths and shaky when you run out of air. The depth of our voice can be easily moderated by regular breathing patterns while talking, that requires practice as we most often forget to take full-relaxed breaths while talking in a hurry. Diaphragmatic breathing is recommended to make your speech even clearer.
- Correct posture; our posture could directly affect the way we talk because leaning or crouching could obstruct the windpipe, creating a shortage of air that makes us sound feeble. On the other hand, while remaining straight, there is a free flow of air through the pipe that makes our voice more clear. Even tilting your head and positioning your head properly could make a difference by altering the resonance of the voice.
- Keep your tone calm; the tone we use for our speech voice must never be too loud so that one doesn’t get the impression of being yelled at and also not too shallow, making it inaudible for the listener. Composure should be maintained throughout the duration of the conversation to be an effective communicator.
- Keep yourself hydrated; the vocal cords need all the care one can possibly give. It needs to be hydrated all the time in order to safeguard it from damages that could ruin the voice clarity.
All great speakers and orators have one thing in common; their commanding voice and an even better-articulated diction. Although the style and presentation are unique to each speaker, there is always a point of perfection in each kind. So enhancing one’s diction only depends on how one would define perfect, as far as it is understood by everyone, but not by what the general notion of a perfect diction is.