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How to Be More Articulate And Improve Your Speech

Focus on the final sound

Make a conscious effort to pronounce each syllable and avoid mumbling or trailing off.

Pay attention to the Ts in contractions and the last words in a sentence.

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Small talk

Not everyone enjoys small talk. It is not that they are not comfortable talking, but one-on-one, small talk remains an issue.

Small talk precedes big talk in the normal course of human affairs. Most people feel the need to connect first before they delve into the serious conversation or ongoing friendships - which means those who avoid small talk are removing themselves from meaningful social interaction.

Small talk has meaning

Anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski noted in 1923 that a great deal of talk "does not serve any purpose of communicating ideas" but "to establish bonds of personal union." He also said that small talk was merely a way to fill the silence.

He was wrong. Small talk is not just for those seeking companionship. It enacts and reinforces social roles in a whole range of social, commercial, and professional settings. 

Speech operates on two levels
  • Speech communicates information or ideas. It is the semantic content of speech.
  • On another level, talking is a social behavior. Every speech does something. It reassures, acknowledges, nurtures, enjoins, rejects, dominates, encourages, or just fill an awkward silence.
Uhh... Umm...

The 'Uhs' and 'Ums' we naturally utter while speaking, or giving a speech, are generally considered to be a flaw, and a person who makes a lot of these pauses while giving a speech is generally considered weak, nervous, ignorant or sloppy.

But these pauses in natural human speech, called disfluencies, may not be a character flaw, but an organic feature of human speech, which is enhancing the listeners' understanding and comprehension.

Our Brain's Spinning Noise

Disfluencies occur naturally when a speaker is processing thought while speaking a sentence, talking and thinking at the same time. The speaker can take slightly longer to find the correct phrase or word and says 'uhh'. This can also drum up the next words, making the listeners remember them.

Natural Sounding Artificial Intelligence

The attempt to remove disfluencies from public speaking is in effect 'robotizing' human beings, who unconsciously display their wisdom, intellect, and complex thinking by naturally using the pauses in their speeches.

Ironically, synthesized voice systems and Artificial Intelligence assistants are now beginning to insert disfluencies in their artificial speech, to sound warm and human-like to the listener.

Being Unable To Articulate Your Thoughts
Being Unable To Articulate Your Thoughts
  • Many introverts face difficulty in being able to articulate what is in their minds into words.
  • Introverts process information in a much deeper way, trying to think of the exact word, and this prolonged word-retrieval exercise makes them ‘freeze’.
  • Introverts like to chew on ideas and are not vocal about their deep, inner thoughts.
Long-Term Memory Vs Short-Term Memory For Introverts

Like in a computer hard disk, information that is retained for long periods of time is in our long-term memory and is not easy to recall reflexively, as it is outside our conscious awareness.

Our short-term memory (also called working memory or active memory) is smaller in size and recalls information in an instant.

Introverts seem to favour long-term memory over short-term memory.

Writing And Introverts

Due to the way their brains are wired, introverts make great writers, able to express themselves in a more comfortable and relaxed manner, as they take their own time to build a great story or narrative.

Many introverts prefer text messages or email over phone calls, and are great at journaling and blogging.