Do You Mumble: Speech Exercises to Cure Mumbling

Uploaded by voiceandspeech on 02.07.2012

You wouldn't believe how often I meet people who don’t open their mouths far enough when
they speak. Yeah, I can hear you saying, “Give me a break, my grandmother could have come
up with that advice,” but the consequences of this pervasive little habit are quite profound
including a weaker voice because less breath flows out when your mouth isn't opened far
enough. Mumbling because speech sounds get distorted being squeezed through your teeth.
Speaking too fast because your tongue can move really fast when your jaw isn't moving,
and the perceived lack of credibility. You’ve probably heard someone say, “He is lying
through his teeth.” What can you do about it? The best approach would involve jaw relaxation
exercises, and that’s what I recommend, but since most people just want to jump to
the result, here is what I suggest. Look in the mirror as you speak. Normally, you want
to have at least one finger width of space between your upper and lower teeth on average.
Some sounds will be more of the high, some less, heee, but on average a finger-width.
For practice you should go for two finger-widths, very open. Use a mirror. The visual confirmation
of openness is very important. You will be surprised at how easily your mouth starts
to close up. If you’re not watching, you won’t even know it. Start with single words
such as spa, fat, and high. When that isn't so hard move to phrases such as father’s
spa, jazz lab, or fly high. When you have the feel of that, try sentences such as “My
father travels in style,” making sure have at least a thumb-width of space between your
upper and lower teeth on the stressed vowel sounds. When the sentences are easy, try reading
paragraphs in front of a mirror. Remember, you are looking for an average of one finger-width
of space between your teeth. When that doesn't feel so strange, try speaking with more openness
in every day conversations. If you haven't been speaking with a relaxed sense of openness,
this might feel very strange and unnatural. You are not used to allowing sound to emerge
from your body with so much space. That doesn't mean it’s wrong, just different, so play
with it until the feeling is familiar, until it feels like you. When you’re able to speak
in public with a relaxed sense of openness around your mouth and jaw, you will reap some
significant benefits. Your voice will be stronger. More openness leads to more breath support.
Your articulation will be clearer. More openness encourages more precision. You’ll speak
in relaxed pace. More openness means your jaw has to move a bit further, slowing you
down, and you’ll appear strong, confident, and credible, take my word for it. These are
all major elements of effective communication and all have a connection to opening your
mouth. You know I hate gimmicks, short-cuts, and superficial techniques, but this is something
anyone can understand, and it’s not hard to practice, so open up. If you would like
more information about how to use your voice effectively, go to and
download my free report The Sound of Success.