Do you want to improve your articulation?  

Many people think that being articulate is simply the way that we sound out the words using our teeth, tongue and lips, but there is another way to think about articulation.  

What does articulation mean to you? 

Perhaps you know a famous celebrity that sounds articulate and eloquent when they are speaking.

In this blog, I’m going to share with you 5 great tips on how you can become a more articulate speaker…and it’s not what you think.

Let’s get started.



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Being articulate simply means that you are able to express yourself so clearly that your audience understands exactly what you mean. You could call it accurate communication, where the speaker accurately portrays a concept and the audience understands it immediately. This is a very effective communication tool. 

So, let’s start straight in. 


TIP #1:  Expand Your Vocabulary   .

Before you grab that dictionary, I want to explain this: I’m not talking about using difficult words that only intellectuals or scholars tend to use. In fact, many people won’t understand what the context is if they are not familiar with the words you are using. 

Being articulate is more about expressing your perspectives and ideas clearly. It’s not about using words that are difficult or complicated. It’s also not about OVER ARTICULATING like Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. I am talking about simply using words that clearly express your thoughts and emotions more effectively. 

A good place to start is to learn more descriptive words. This will help you express your thoughts and feelings more clearly, and helps people resonate with you faster because of the emotion you are able to express articulately. 


TIP #2:  Practice Speaking Extemporaneously 

Another way of saying this is “Off the Cuff” or improvising your content.  

As a singer and actor for more than 3 decades, my career really improved my ability to speak off the cuff. For 35 years, I sang in front of thousands of people all over the world and I had to learn to talk and interact with the audience between songs. It gave me a lot of confidence and skill in speaking extemporaneously. Learning this skill has allowed me to be able to speak off the cuff for as long as needed, without the use of notes or scripts. These skills will really help you embody the words and ideas so you can tell a story with the full engagement of your emotions, tonality and body language. So, to learn to speak extemporaneously or improvising, practice small chunks at a time improvising your content until you gain confidence in your ability to speak with no preparation. Once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy public speaking so much more and be stressed about it a whole lot less. 


TIP #3: Strategic Pauses

Many people get so nervous when they speak, that they speak as fast as they can just to get it over with but this is not effective for the speaker OR the listener.

What I suggest you do instead, is this: Use a strategic pause after sharing a complex idea with your audience. If you have a difficult piece of information to share in a presentation, speak the words out clearly then leave a little gap of silence to allow the audience to assimilate the information.  

A strategic pause is a powerful way to not only help people comprehend your content more effectively. It is also much better than…umm…errr… using too many filler words. In other words, practice, breathe, and get comfortable with a little silence. It helps you gather your thoughts for the next idea and it helps the audience assimilate the content more effectively. 


TIP #4: Experiment with Tonality and Emphasis      .

Have you ever heard the saying:  it’s not what you say, but HOW you say it?

When I was growing up, I remember hearing people say: DONT USE THAT TONE OF VOICE WITH ME, YOUNG LADY!

Tone is very statement specific because using a particular tone of voice can change the whole meaning of the sentence. Let me show you clearly what I mean with the following sentence: I never said he stole your money.

I am going to show you differing tones of voice and emphasis on different words so you can see and hear how the meaning completely changes… 

I …. Never said he stole your money. (By putting emphasis on the first word, this implies that someone ELSE stole the money)

I NEVER…said he stole your money. (This means: NO, it wasn’t me that said it)

I never SAID he stole your money. (This means: I may be thinking it but I didn’t say it) 

I never said HE stole your money. (Now it means: maybe someone else stole it) 

I never said he STOLE your money. (Now it means: Well perhaps he borrowed it) 

I never said he stole YOUR money. (Implies perhaps he stole someone else’s money) 

I never said he stole your MONEY. (Now it implies he could have stolen something else but not the money) 

You see? All 7 voice inflections used in the very same sentence give 7 different meanings.

Tone of Voice and Emphasis are very important to learn. 

Another really simple example is this: the word “PRESENT”. 

Just looking at the word on the screen doesn’t give you much context until you say it with the correct emphasis. 

Here are some examples: 

  1. Thank you for the lovely present
  2. I would like you to be PREsent at the meeting
  3. I would like you to presENT at the next meeting. 

Same word, three completely different meanings because of the way you articulate the word within the context of a spoken sentence. 


TIP #5: Vocal Variety

When you use vocal variety, it helps people stay focused on what you are saying for much longer. A great rule of thumb is to use a long sentence followed by a shorter sentence. When you use long, convoluted sentences one after the other it gives people too much information to assimilate. So, mix it up and be disciplined and mindful when speaking. 

Another trick you could use, is what I call chunking. It’s the art of speeding up common phrases that people are used to hearing then slowing down the more complex ideas so people can follow you better. So, the idea is: long, short, speed up, slow down.

Simply practicing these 4 simple principles will add more vocal variety to the way that you speak which makes it far more engaging to listen to. 

Do not forget: Speak up. Speak out. Be ready to be heard because remember: YOUR VOICE MATTERS.