In casual conversation, it’s common for people to drop sounds or even entire syllables when they speak. For many people, this habit also carries over into professional communication. If you’re like most people, you’re completely unaware that you’re not pronouncing all of the sounds of a word. This habit can make your speech sound sloppy and unprofessional. In many cases, it may make parts of your message unintelligible and can cause misunderstandings and confusion.
One of the most common issues is not pronouncing the consonants at the end of each word. People often rush their speech and run their words into one another, beginning the next word before they’ve finished fully pronouncing the end of the previous word. Not only does this habit make you come across as inarticulate, it can make it difficult for your listener to follow you. If you make your listener work hard to understand your speech, the full impact of your message is likely to be lost.
Another common issue is dropping a weak syllable in multisyllabic words. Take, for example, the word “probably.” Chances are you, when you’re speaking quickly or engaged in a conversation, you drop the middle syllable and say “probly.” Although people are likely to understand what you mean in this case, syllable dropping can be much more problematic with less commonly used words. If you drop syllables in common words, you probably make the same pronunciation errors in words which are particular to your business or your industry. For someone who doesn’t know your professional jargon quite as well as you do, this can render your message in comprehensible. Even common words should be pronounced in their entirety in a professional situation. Although your words may be understood, dropping sounds and syllables will make your speech seem sloppy and lazy.
Write down a short list of multisyllabic words you say on a regular basis, and practice saying them out loud, pronouncing every sound and syllable. Becoming aware of your pronunciation and your particular habits is a great first-step in improving your articulation.
Want to learn more? Take a look at this video from Corporate Speech Solutions founder and president Jayne Latz:
If you have questions or are interested in improving your communication skills, give me a call at 212-308-7725 or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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