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How To Be More Articulate: Tips To Be A Better Speaker

Updated: June 19, 2024 | Published: May 18, 2021

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: May 18, 2021


Speaking in front of others might come naturally to some people, but for many it’s their worst nightmare. But when it comes to speaking articulately, this is a skill that’s very important to possess. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be that well-spoken, learning how to be more articulate in everyday speech can help you be a better speaker overall.

The Basics: How To Be More Articulate in Everyday Speech

Learning how to be more articulate is a process, and it won’t happen overnight. But, if this is a goal that you have for yourself ⁠— whether it’s because you want to make more friends, participate more in the classroom, overcome your fear of public speaking, or make yourself stand out more at a job interview — there are several steps you can take to improve your speaking.

Imitate Speakers You Admire

Who is a speaker that you like to listen to? Think of someone that you admire for their way with words and how they are in front of an audience. A smart first step in becoming more articulate is to imitate speakers that you like. Watch them and listen to them, and notice what they do to capture an audience. Then, try to replicate that the next time you’re speaking with others.

Use of Pauses

Another good trick to help you learn how to become more articulate is to use pauses at the right moments when you’re speaking. Whenever you want to emphasize a sentence, phrase, word, or even a feeling, using a pause before or after will do that for you.

Watch Your Sentence Length

Using long sentences can not only lose your audience, but it can make you out of breath! While it’s okay to use long sentences every so often, try to break them up with shorter sentences to maintain the pace of your speech.

Use Rhythm, Pitch Variation, and Voice Projection

There’s nothing more exhausting than listening to a monotonous speaker. Therefore, it’s important to use rhythm and tempo when you speak. Your intonation is really what captures your listeners, and if you can have a beat to your tone — going up and down when necessary — you’ll sound like a very experienced speaker.

You’ll also want to use a variation in your pitch, as well as train yourself to project your voice or quiet your speaking depending on what emotion you want to evoke in your audience.

Man public speaking under spotlight

Image by Michelle Koebke from Pixabay

The Secret To Being Well-Spoken

Any person can practice for a speech or a presentation in order to sound less nervous. But the secret to being well-spoken in everyday speech takes a lot of practice in order to perfect it and allow you to naturally be more articulate. By following a series of steps, you will be well on your way to becoming more well-spoken.

First, Listen To Yourself Speak

In addition to listening to and imitating a speaker you admire, you should also listen to yourself speak. Although it may be cringe-worthy for some individuals, recording your voice with an audio recorder or video camera and then listening to/watching yourself speak can do wonders.

When you hear it, ask yourself what you’d like to improve on. And, if you’re brave enough, ask a friend, mentor, or teacher to listen, too, because sometimes it’s helpful to get tips from someone else who may hear your speech differently than you do.

Understand Your Audience

The next step in becoming a better speaker is to understand your audience. When you’re speaking, it’s important to adjust your speech depending on who you are speaking to.

For instance, if you are speaking to a class of kindergartners, you’re going to want to use the appropriate-level vocabulary, with a higher pitch and more excitement in your tone overall. But when you’re speaking to someone that’s interviewing you for a job, you’ll want to make yourself sound intelligent, serious, but also approachable.

Slow It Down

Sometimes when we are nervous, we tend to speed up our speech, which can be the one thing holding us back from sounding more articulate. So, when you speak, remember to slow down. Use pauses to help with this, or take a breath between longer sentences.

Eliminate Filler Words/Keep It Simple

When we’re nervous, we tend to insert filler words to fill the spaces in between what we really want to say. Words and phrases like “umm”, “like”, “so”, and “you know”, can easily find their way into speech when what we really want to say isn’t coming out as clearly as we’d like. Try to avoid using these filler words at all costs. And, if you’re struggling to find a word that’s just not coming to you, then remember that keeping it simple is best for everyone.

Enunciate the Final Sound/End of a Word

It’s very common in speaking that the last sound of a word or sentence tends to get mumbled out. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, making sure to enunciate the final sound can make you sound firm and confident in your speech. This will naturally help you sound more articulate. Be sure to always check your pronunciation and hear for those final sounds when speaking.

Show Off Your Confidence

If you are not confident about your speaking, your audience will be able to tell. Even if you don’t necessarily feel confident, try to pretend that you are. Make eye contact with your listeners, and try and carry yourself in a way that exudes confidence.Take Your Time

You should always think before you speak. If you take a second to think about what you want to say before just saying whatever comes to mind, you’ll be able to be more careful with your words.

Not only will this make you more articulate (since you’ll be able to avoid using filler words), it will help you to be more mindful of another person’s thoughts and feelings.

Two young men smiling and talking to each other on a bench in the snow

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

How To Be Articulate and More…

Learning how to be more articulate takes time and practice. But, once you’ve perfected your speaking, you can always take it to the next level. Depending on which aspects of your articulateness you’d like to improve, there are some strategies to help you get there.

How To Be More Articulate and Intelligent

To be more articulate and intelligent, speaking slowly and carefully to give yourself enough time to think of the right word or phrase before going ahead. Also, it’s worth it to improve your vocabulary so that you can use these words while speaking. Familiarize yourself with diverse topics in order to broaden your knowledge in terms of things you can speak about.

How To Be More Articulate and Polished

Next, to sound more polished when you are speaking, do not answer questions with simple answers. Always give supporting information and evidence, and address the person you’re talking to with specifics and with their name.

How To Be More Articulate and Confident

A lot of what makes a person seem confident when they speak has actually nothing to do with the words coming out of their mouth. In order to sound more articulate and confident, maintain good posture, try to avoid habits like swinging your legs or wringing your hands while speaking, and command the room with a positive presence.

How To Be More Articulate and Powerful

Lastly, to sound more articulate and powerful, avoid using loose descriptive words and superlatives. When you talk about something, talk about it for what it is, and never beat around the bush. Be direct and to the point, and use facts and information to support your points.

Additional Speaking Tips

When it comes to learning how to be more articulate, some speaking tips will resonate with some people more than others, depending on what your specific issues are with speaking and what you want to improve on.

However, there are some additional speaking tips that can help you with speaking in everyday life.

Don’t Sound Like a Know-It-All

Though it’s good to sound more powerful, confident, and articulate, you want to be very careful that you don’t come off as pretentious or a know-it-all. This can be a big turn off to your audience. Never talk down to others, belittle them, or assume they don’t know what you’re talking about. And, also, be sure not to interrupt others and to give them a chance to speak as well.

Build a Database to Pull Stories From

Sometimes, being an articulate speaker also means that others can relate to you; that they find you personable, funny, etc. You don’t always have to be an expert on a topic to be seen as well-spoken or to have others pay attention to you. You just need to be a good storyteller! By building up a database of stories in the back of your mind, you can pull from these depending on the situation.

Don’t Overthink It!

Finally, the most important piece of advice when it comes to being more articulate is to not overthink it! We are all just human, after all, and speaking is just another form of communicating so we can connect with others.

Sure, being well-spoken and articulate can make you a better student, a better entertainer, and a better candidate for the workplace. But, at the end of the day, all that matters is that you stay true to yourself and who you are.

Going to school and earning your degree is a great first step in learning how to be more articulate. University of the People offers degree programs tuition-free, and the skills you learn and experiences you have in school can help make you an expert speaker.

At UoPeople, our blog writers are thinkers, researchers, and experts dedicated to curating articles relevant to our mission: making higher education accessible to everyone.