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How to Enunciate

Want to get the attention, the respect, and even the dates you've been missing out on? You can start by speaking clearly.


  • Step 1: Watch yourself speak Stand in front of the mirror, and pretend you’re having a conversation with a friend. It’s much easier to identify the places where you slur if you watch yourself speak.
  • Step 2: Stretch and relax your face Stretch your face as wide as it will go, and then scrunch it up as small as you can. Move your jaw from side to side, and back and forth. Stick your tongue out as far as it will go, and retract it. Repeat these steps several times. Stretching your face, jaw, and tongue makes it easier to form words clearly.
  • Step 3: Try vocal exercises Stand in front of the mirror and repeat vocal exercises that’ll help you loosen your tongue, lips, and jaw. Try to make every sound distinct, emphasizing both consonants and vowels.
  • TIP: Say and repeat these clearly:
    -Bbb, www, bbb, www, ppp, fff, ppp, fff
    -Gutta butta, gutta butta
    -Red leather, yellow leather
  • Step 4: Try tongue twisters Repeat tongue twisters slowly and deliberately to yourself in the mirror, and make sure that you can hear each separate consonant and syllable. Over time, say the phrases faster and faster, making sure you can still hear each part of the word clearly.
  • TIP: Say and repeat these clearly:
    - A noisy noise annoys an oyster.
    - Lovely lemon liniment
    - Twelve twins twirled twelve twigs.
  • Step 5: Use a cork or pencil Record yourself reading a paragraph from your favorite book. Now gently hold a pencil or the small end of a cork just behind your front teeth. Slowly read the paragraph aloud several times, making every letter as clear as possible. Remove the cork or pencil, and record yourself reading the paragraph again. The second recording will be much clearer.
  • Step 6: Emphasize consonants and syllables Focus on making consonants and syllables as clear as possible, since they provide the most structure in words and sentences.
  • Step 7: Accept that you look ridiculous Take 10 minutes each day to repeat your speech exercises. You may look silly as you talk to the mirror, but you’ll sound great when you’re speaking in public.
  • FACT: As an aspiring actress, Kathleen Turner perfected her diction by biting down on pencil erasers while practicing speech exercises.

You Will Need

  • A mirror
  • A voice recorder
  • A cork or pencil
  • A sense of humor

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