Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Talk up-front

Maybe nothing tells more about us than the way we speak. They may judge us by our appearance until we speak, then our appearance is muted, and we are as we speak.

We may have been told to enunciate, to talk slower, to speak clearly, to not run the words together, and so on. I now suggest, regardless who gave you the instruction, that you toss it away, forget it, ignore it - and let me give you a simple but magic rule that will remove the need for any further instruction or correction. You will be admired for how well you speak.

I will give you the rule in a few simple, uncluttered words. Learn the rule and apply it. Everything I say before I give you the rule is simply to help you know the importance of how you speak, and what I say after is to help you apply the rule.

The author of the book called this rule the "talk up-front" rule. The rule is this:
  • Form your words with your lips, your teeth, and the tip of your tongue.
  • Feel your words being formed as you speak, right at the front of your mouth.

That's it. That's the rule. That's all. Don't expand on it. Practice this rule and forget everything else you know about how to speak well.

It will take some practice. But as you do, you will find that you are enunciating each syllable properly, you are speaking at the proper speed, you are forming each word and never "running words together", and all without focusing on any of that. And you won't sound like you're trying to speak better. You will sound very natural and as a well educated, sensible person would speak.

It's been years since I read the book. The idea is the only thing I remember. So it's one of those things that become your own after a time, and the words to explain it are also your own. I'm convinced it's all you need to know about speaking well.


  1. I like this idea - I'm going to try it. It's something you can focus on doing, instead of just worrying that you don't sound right or feeling self-conscious. I'll let you know how it goes...

  2. It really works too! I try to do this myself and tried to teach it to our children. The rest seems to fall into place if you carefully try to use the tip of your tongue. Thanks for the post, I was missing you! ~Jenny

  3. Thatissomegreatadvice. I'llhavetotryitout. It might take some practice.