How to Be More Articulate and Speak Clearly: 9 Tips!

How can you be more articulate and speak clearly at work? Being more articulate and speaking clearly at work is absolutely possible. It’s a skill and like any skill, it can be learned. 

When you learn how to be more articulate at work and speak in a way that is clear and concise, your communication is amplified. Your message gets across clearly. People understand what you’re saying. And as a result, you can have much more impact as a manager or a leader. 

On the other hand, if people don’t understand what you say, your ideas can be overlooked. And this can result in you not getting promoted when you deserve it.

There are a number of steps you need to follow in order to be more articulate and speak clearly. I’ll briefly explain each below. If you want to delve deeper, I encourage you to watch the related YouTube video below.

1. Check your posture.

Good articulation starts with your posture. It’s impossible to produce clear words and sounds if you’re hunched over. It puts strain on your neck, shoulders and jaw muscles which prevent you from using these muscles properly to produce sound. It also restricts your larynx and prevents it from moving freely. All of this together makes it impossible to articulate well. Correct your posture and you’re off to a good start.

2. Keep your head level.

If you’re shy, you might be tempted to look toward the ground when you speak. But as I mentioned above, this prohibits your ability to produce sounds clearly. Instead, you need to raise your chin and keep your head level. On top of allowing you to speak clearly, it also makes you look confident.

3. Record yourself.

Recording yourself is a great way to identify any habits that can detract from clear communication. You can pick up filler words, upswing, bad pronunciation, or signs of hesitation in your voice that can impede on you articulating well. In the below video, I share advice on how you can go about recording yourself.

4. Slow down to pronunciate well.

When you speak too fast, it makes it extremely difficult to pronounce your words clearly. Your words tend to merge together and it’s difficult for your listener to separate the different words. As a result, it makes it harder for them to understand. It can also hide your key message too. Make it easier for your listener to understand you and your message by slowing your speech down.

5. Think before you speak.

Pausing before you speak gives you time to think about what you want to say. It allows you to plan out your sentences and the words you’re going to use. This is important if you tend to get your thoughts muddled. Muddled thoughts will always come out confused which means less impact for you. Pay attention to pausing before you speak.

6. Keep your sentences short and simple.

Being more articulate doesn’t mean you have to use long, drawn out sentences with complicated words. In fact, this makes it harder for people to understand you. Instead, you need to use shorter sentences and simple vocabulary. This is the best way to be sure your listener will understand what you’re saying.

7. Be careful of filler words.

Filler words are very common in verbal communication. They aren’t always a bad thing. In many instances, they help you, the speaker, to think of what you’re going to say next. But sometimes they’re overused. And in this case, it can become problematic for your listener and your core message. Be careful of using filler words, such as um, ah, er, basically, literally, actually, just, like, and you know.

8. Check in with your audience.

You need to make sure your audience is keeping up with what you’re saying, and it not getting bored or confused. You can do this by checking in with them periodically as you talk. You can use a simple question such as, “Are you following what I’m saying so far?” to see if your listener is still with you in the conversation.

9. Study speakers you admire.

I’m sure there are people you’ve come across either in real life or in the movies, who speak in a way you admire. People you find are eloquent, expressive or articulate in their communication. Study these people. What words do they use? What body language do they use? Are their sentences long or short? Make a list of things that make their communication so impactful, and try to incorporate those things in your communication.

It’s absolutely possible to be more articulate and speak clearly at work. I hope this blog post and the below video will help you improve your communication in this area.

Watch the below video to learn more.

Timestamps for “Be More Articulate and Speak Clearly”:

  • 00:50 What is “articulation”?
  • 02:04 What does your posture have to do with good articulation and speaking clearly?
  • 04:37 How to position your head (and chin) to speak clearly, without hindrance.
  • 06:09 Why you shouldn’t lift your chin too much.
  • 06:24 Benefits of recording yourself in a natural conversation.
  • 07:18 You need to slow down your speech to speak clearly.
  • 07:55 Using the pause to think before you speak.
  • 09:26 Why keeping your sentences short and simple is important.
  • 10:12 How filler words can lead to unclear speech.
  • 12:02 Why you need to check in with your audience.
  • 14:35 Study speakers you admire + example from movie Working Girl
  • 16:37 Being more articulate and speaking clearly is a skill you can learn.

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About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox