The communication process of your ideas is done through clear articulation of your speech. This requires the physical movement of the tongue, lips, jaw, in contact within your mouth, your teeth, and palate (roof of your mouth) to create distinct enunciation of your words. The connection of these speech organs depends on the air-stream through your throat, mouth and teeth for your message to be heard accurately.
The sound waves are altered by your speech muscles stopping or shaping the sound you hear, as either consonants or vowels.
For English consonants it’s your tongue tip touching your alveolar ridge (gum ridge behind your front teeth) to produce t, d, n; or the air streaming over your tongue to produce s, z sounds, or the many other consonant-combinations. The consonants give the edge to your words. Without this edge your sound comes out as if you are mumbling because you don’t open your mouth widely, or move your lips to define words with distinct m, p, b; or with lips and teeth contact, such as f and v.
The English vowels give resonance to your words and the consonants give them clarity. Listeners may hear what you say but they may not understand what you say if there is no clear combination of breath, consonants, and vowels.
Your breathing is a partner re-shaping to where you place your tongue in your mouth at the upper front, middle, back, arching it up, or dropping it down. The air is rushing to accommodate around your positioning to create your sound, words, phrases, and sentences.
The Link of Diaphragmatic Breathing process to your articulators is that it provides more flexibility and volume of air space and air pressure as it changes and travels through your lungs, chest, larynx (voice box), trachea, nasal and oral cavities to exit as clearly understood words.
Improve your diction to create presence when you speak, by avoiding to speaking too quickly, having a tight jaw or little mouth movement, and you’ll improve your speaking confidence.
If you would like some exercises including a few tongue twisters so you can train your articulators as if they doing gymnastics, take a look at Chapter Four on Articulate to Attract in “Breathing…Just Steps to Breathtaking Speeches” by Speech Coach, Brenda C. Smith.
Have you read the previous Blog# 1, 2 and 3 in this Series on How Diaphragmatic Breathing Is Linked to Your Voice?
Has this ever happened to you?
No matter what age group you are in when you try to communicate your ideas orally no one seems to be listening to you. Here are three common scenarios.
You could be speaking at a low volume, mumbling while talking, speaking too rapidly, not projecting energetically enough, or sounding bored or tired. There is the off chance that they may not be interested in what you have to say.
Give yourself a quick Speech Checkup: stand in front of a mirror and speak to yourself as if you are talking to a friend about your day so far. While you are describing your details look at your mouth to determine if it is open as wide as the width of your thumb, and if your lips are barely moving or are they animated. That would be the first clue to the cause of people not being able to hear you.
Flexible mouth muscles will allow you to articulate your words clearly. Lazy mouth muscles: lips, tongue, teeth, and jaw cloud the sound and block it from exiting your mouth. Practice a few tongue twisters, such as, “The wagon wobbled wildly and widely,” to loosen up your speech muscles. Face the mirror while saying it so you can stretch your lips and drop your jaw. Do this exercise three times every morning and again throughout your day. Transition to exaggerating your mouth movements with a wider mouth as you speak normally.
As far as speaking too quickly, you can start resetting your pace to be slower by consciously being aware to take your time, so your words are not all rushed together; and your listener misses most of what you are saying.
If you use diaphragmatic breathing as your engine to your voice sound, then you can have more energy, and project or aim your sound beyond your listeners’ ears so that everyone hears you immediately and pays attention. No other breathing technique works as well for voice projection and variety in tone.
With a few speech and voice techniques you can overcome any scenario that tunes out your listeners. Instead, your next encounter will be heard with crystal clarity and interest. You will no longer feel left-out or feel like screaming!
Your message will be understood as you speak calmly and confidently. Give your speech muscles a workout to achieve a voice power makeover.
You’ll find more speech techniques, exercises, and warm-ups in our recommended book: “Breathe…Just Steps to Breathtaking Steps” on Amazon and FriesenPress written by Author, Brenda C. Smith, Speech and Drama Coach
Ask Alexa Skill " Alexa Open Speak Clearly Warmups".
When you get dentures or are recovering from oral surgery your mouth changes and you suddenly are surprised by your struggle to speak clearly again. However, you can adapt. It simply takes practice with a few key exercises of your speech muscles: tongue, lips, teeth, palate (roof of mouth), and jaw.
Here are three key exercises to practise so your speech can adapt to the new shape within your mouth.
#1Key Warmup with the Tongue: Your tongue tip must be re-trained to touch a new upper location around your denture device to hit the gum line behind the upper teeth. Start a short phrase, “Tittle tattle, tittle tattle, tittle tattle,” and repeat it five times.
The tongue likes to dance and flip with the upper palate or roof of your mouth. So, give it twirl with this phrase, “Lillory, Lallory, Lollory” five times.
Rest between your practice sessions while recovering from any surgery.
#2 Key Warmup with the Lips: A simple way to stretch your lips is to smile and then pout several times to limber them up. Repeat aloud, “boo” and “hee” together: “boo-hee” five times. A good tip is to massage your face and cheek gentle before you start your exercises to loosen any tight muscles.
#3 Key Warmup with the Jaw: A tight jaw will not allow your speech to be heard clearly so you must open you mouth widely. To loosen up you jaw focus on relaxing it and gently move it up and down, and side to side. Then you can try taking a huge yawn to feel that air hit the back of your throat and feel your jaw stretch way out.
If you have some favourite tongue twisters, then now is the time to use them. Speak slowly while saying any to achieve better accuracy. That’s more important than how fast you can say them.
There are more exercises for all your speech muscles in “Speak With Confidence: Even With Dentures” with tips on avoiding whistling sounds, mumbling, and more.
Here’s to Keeping Voice Fit!
Do you hesitate to pick up the phone to speak because of your dentures?
It’s not uncommon for a new denture placement to confuse your tongue as to where it goes inside your mouth. This can also affect your reluctance to speak socially outside of the comfort of your home and your immediate family.
Preparation in managing your speaking skills, your personal feelings, and your interactions with others will help re-build your self-confidence.
The following three actions will guide you to move from being worried to being more confident.
Action #1: Warmup your tongue movement in relation to your new denture teeth, your jaw, lips, and mouth.
While wearing your dentures, begin letting your tongue tip explore the inside of your mouth. Drag it across the palate, or roof of your mouth right to the back of your mouth. Then, guide the tongue to touch your new dentures a tooth at-a-time, as if it’s cleaning the inner side of your teeth. Stretch your tongue to repeat cleaning the front of your teeth. Rest between exercising your tongue to just let it relax in its new space.
When you believe that your tongue has figured things out, start speaking short phrases, such as, “Pass me my drink please.” You may be drinking through a straw or sipping slowly but you can practise your speech between your normal activities.
Saying tongue twisters will help you figure out which sound is the most difficult for you. Then teach your tongue how to do it by repeating it slowly and often. Take a few minutes to read a short paragraph during your day.
Action #2: Motivate positive emotional reaction to speaking clearly again with mind relaxation and visualization.
Breathe in slowly with the diaphragm to relax your shoulders, neck, throat and jaw. Let your arms hang loosely, and yawn widely several times. Close your eyes and visualize yourself having a conversation over the telephone with a friend just like you use to do. Then open your eyes and speak out loud what you might say initially to that friend.
Take the next step and actually call your friend. Your speech may not always be perfect, but it is the best you can do now, because each time as you practise you will get better. Simply smile and tell yourself that you’re doing great.
Next, be mindful and willing to take a risk to speak socially by going outside of your safe home to the local coffee shop or an event. Remember your speech muscles are along for the exercise so keep them moving.
Action #3: Rehearse your changes as if you are about to speak with a microphone before an audience.
Stand up as if you are in front of a microphone and read aloud a short passage from a book. Then do another paragraph in front of your computer and record your passage. Play it back and listen to how well you now are speaking with your dentures.
You will gain confidence and adapt to any stressful situation by speaking as much as possible. Speak to your listeners as if you are interested in them. Throw away all your excuses as to why you can’t speak, and just go out there and speak. It’s not about you anymore, it’s about contributing to a conversation. This will keep your mind, speech, and confidence away from your previous fears.
Let’s all Keep Voice Fit! Get ready to exercise your speech muscles for articulation clarity! There are more warm-ups, exercises, and tips to re-train your lips, tongue, teeth, palate, and jaw after dentures in Brenda C. Smith’s latest book: “Speak with Confidence: Even with Dentures;” “Training Your Speech Muscles to Clear Communication.”
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Brenda C. Smith