If your diction is difficult to understand, it could be due to an accent. Please understand that accents are not a problem. They are part of your culture; part of what makes you, you. If you have an accent, I do not recommend trying to eliminate it. Instead, I suggest you work on speaking more clearly and your 1st step in the process is to record your voice. Until you hear how you sound, you may not recognize that your diction is at fault.

In a workshop I held recently, one of the participants was a woman originally from China who was the director of a biomedical lab for a medical university. She was appalled when she listened to herself on the video recording we made. Having been in this country for many, many years, she thought she was speaking clearly until she heard the recording.

Your 2nd step is to speak English in your home as much as possible. While you may be speaking your native tongue to your children for their benefit and their education, I would suggest that you spend a little more time with the English language as well.

Your 3rd step is to watch movies in English. Listen to the diction of the actors. Notice how clearly they speak. Whether you drive to work, take a train or a bus, or are an urban walker, listen to audio books in English.

Your 4th step is to take an accent reduction course or a program in voice training. The former will help you with your enunciation; the latter will do the same – however, voice training will show you how to find your ‘real’ voice, the richer, warmer, deeper sound which is more mature in quality and is powered by means of your chest cavity.

Two other problems for those who speak with an accent may be lack of volume and speed. Often those whose mother tongue is not English, speak rather softly and have the uncanny ability to talk very, very fast; therefore, it is important to cover these issues as well if you are affected by one and/or the other.

Some who are soft-spoken are concerned that they will be too loud. Nothing could be further from the truth. The last thing I want as a voice coach is for anyone to speak loudly. There is a huge difference between a loud voice (which hurts your listeners’ ears and your throat) and more volume.

On the other hand, if you are talking at ‘100 mph’ and your listeners are accustomed to ‘75 or 80,’ then you are losing your audience every time you open your mouth to speak. As mentioned in step 4, when you power your voice by means of your chest cavity, you gain control not only over your voice but over your speed as well.

If you want others to listen, they must 1st hear and understand your words.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady, Nancy Daniels, offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as the Voicing It! the only video training on voice improvement. If you would like to see a wonderful improvement in volume control and diction, watch Mohammad's ‘before & after’ video clip at Nancy's Voice Training website.