Tweaks for 2019 – Talk slower, pronounce better

- I speak quite fast.
- I have lisp. So some consonants don’t sound correctly when I speak them.
- I have an accent (North Indian in Britain).

Combination of these three factors means that my speech is often hard to understand, specially by non-Indians.

I need others to understand what I am talking about, without much effort on their part. They won’t pay me (money, attention) if they can’t understand me.

Speaking slowly and enunciating correctly will hopefully help with some of these issues.

I also need to improve my choice of words when I speak. Speaking slowly will also give myself time to think of better alternate words before I utter them out.

Aside: I also have hearing trouble, which means I myself don’t hear consonants correctly in noisy environments. I have a hypothesis that if I speak slowly, others around me too will, subconsciously, start speaking slowly. This would help me not just be heard better, but hear better too.

Expected difficulty

Expected difficulty: Very Hard.

It’s the hardest tweak because, unlike with eating slow, I can’t think of any cues or tricks to slow myself down when speaking.

Tips & tactics

At the moment I have only one clear tactic handy for bringing this change: practise reading aloud – speaking slowly and correctly. I will start by reading a short 2-3 min note, maybe an article from The Economist. Once I have better control over speed, pronunciation and intonation, I can then graduate to speaking aloud longer 10-15 minute articles. And hopefully, over time this slow reading aloud will permeate my normal speech as well – slowing me down, and making me easier to understand.

A self-test method that I thought of, is to recite to Google’s speech-to-text programs and try to minimise conversion errors. If Google can understand my speech near-perfectly, it’s safe to assume that a lot of people will too.

A third action I am considering is to join the local Toastmasters chapter (alternate). I find this both alluring (meeting people, learning from experts, qualified feedback), and scary (public speaking!). However, the real drawback of this is its conflict with another of this year’s tweaks – being frugal (with time, money, and energy).

Memorable phrase

Enunciate like Ross.

— Friends, Episode: The one with the thumb


Speak like a politician


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