Speaking Tips and Ideas You Can Use to Improve Your Teaching

I am from the Midwest originally.  There, I learned to speak fast. I mean fast.  While I moved from the Midwest over 30 years ago, I still catch myself speaking so fast at times that I slur my words. Well, as a teacher, I noticed that I need to start applying my speaking tips and ideas again.

Years ago, I received my bachelor’s degree in broadcasting, where I learned to pronounce words properly and to slow down my speech. As future broadcasters, we learned various speaking tips and ideas to make us sound more professional.  Back then, I dropped my “g’s”. For instance, coming became comin’. Yep, it was easy to drop that letter. To break the habit, I practiced pronouncing words that end in ”g.” 

Recently, I decided to record my teachings. I teach at several locations each week so I thought it would be a good idea. One reason, people have asked me to record them. Another reason, I wanted to critique my delivery, so I could see if I was applying those speaking tips and ideas I learned in broadcasting school, so many years ago.

After listening to some of the recordings, I realized I had developed some bad habits.  Many of the speaking tips and ideas I had spent years developing were gone. I heard myself dropping “g’s”, speaking fast, slurring some words, and generally messing up the delivery.  I could not believe what I heard.

Well, the good news, I know what I’m supposed to sound like, so it was easy to critique myself.  As for changing the way I speak, I believe it will be easy to correct this time around. To begin, I decided to start the exercises we learned in college, using those old speaking tips and ideas.

Speaking Tips and Ideas from the Past

First, to slow down, I will need to make an effort to pronounce my words properly. Doing this will slow down my speech pattern. If you talk too fast, slow down by pronouncing each word properly.

Next, I will start practicing my “g” words. I want to make sure I pronounce the entire word, including the “g”.  If you drop your “g’s,” a great place to practice is in your car, as your drive to work.

At times, I sensed nervousness, where I knew what I wanted to say, but found myself tongue-tied. Again, I need to remind myself to hesitate slightly, before speaking, so I can gather my thoughts. Try this the next time you speak. The difference it makes will amaze you.

To help with my pronunciation, I will need to practice some of my old tongue twisters. Nothing will improve a lazy tongue than a few tongue twisters each day, such as “Rubber baby, buggy bumpers.” That’s my favorite. If you have this problem, tongue twisters will help you. And if you want to improve faster, clench a pencil between your teeth, as you speak the words. This will help make your lips more responsive as you speak.

I use “get” a great deal, instead of another verb. If you find yourself doing this, you can break this habit by practicing action sentences. When you do, substitute another verb for get.

The last tip, record yourself often. Be your own critic. When you hear something you disagree with in your delivery or speech pattern, practice breaking the habit. It will surprise you how easy it is to retrain your brain. Doing this exercise will make you a better communicator.

Practice While Driving

When driving in your car, think of some of your speaking flaws, and begin speaking out loud, as you practice correcting them. You will see the benefit of doing these exercises.

Hope these speaking tips a have been helpful. If you have some ideas that have worked for you, please don’t hesitate to send me your ideas. I’d like to add them to this list. My email is godfire@disciples.com

Links to other Tips and Ideas

Tips from Toastmasters

TED Tips