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Microsoft 365
April 28, 2023

The importance of enunciation in your presentation

As humans, our ability to communicate is one of our most valuable skills. Whether we’re giving a presentation to our work colleagues, delivering a speech at a wedding, or making small talk with a stranger, the way we speak and present ourselves can make a difference in how we —and our message—are perceived.

What is enunciation, and why is it important?

Each of us speaks using our tongue, lips, teeth, and vocal cords, creating our unique and distinct sound. That makes enunciation, the act of pronouncing words clearly and accurately, with appropriate emphasis on key syllables, very important. Good enunciation makes our speech easy to understand for others and helps us to communicate our message clearly and concisely.

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Enunciation is critical to effective communication: Poor enunciation can lead to confusion, misunderstanding, and misinterpretation. It can also make us appear less confident and less professional, which can negatively impact our presentation’s credibility.

Additionally, good enunciation is essential in certain professions, such as broadcasting, public speaking, and voiceover work. In these roles, the speaker’s voice is their primary tool, and the ability to enunciate words clearly is foundational to success.

How to speak effectively

Improving your enunciation skills requires practice and patience. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Focus on your breathing. Good enunciation starts with proper breathing. Take deep breaths and practice controlling your breathing while speaking. This will help you to speak more clearly and with greater confidence.
  • Pay attention to your mouth and tongue. Your mouth and tongue are critical to clear enunciation. Practice by opening your mouth wide and enunciating each syllable of the word. Pay attention to the position of your tongue and lips and make adjustments as needed.
  • Practice with tongue twisters. These are a fun and effective way to practice your pronunciation and fluency. Start with simple ones, work your way up to more challenging ones, and repeat them until you can deliver them with confidence. Here are some examples:
    • I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream
    • He threw three free throws
    • Snap crackle pop
    • Six sticky skeletons
    • Which witch is which?
  • Record yourself. Use your phone’s memo app while you’re speaking to identify areas where you need improvement. Listen back to the recording and pay attention to your pronunciation, emphasis, and pacing.
“PowerPoint’s Speaker Coach can help you rehearse your presentation, using AI to evaluate and advise on pitch, pacing, use of filler words or informal speech, and wordiness.”

Enunciation tools and exercises

If you’re looking for enunciation assistance, Microsoft 365 solutions offer features that can bridge the gap between written or typed text and speech:

  • Word has a Read Aloud feature that can read your writing back, which can aid in reviewing the ease or difficulty of a presentation’s flow. Immersive Reader can also improve fluency and communication skills by adjusting your focus when reading a lengthy document.
  • PowerPoint’s Speaker Coach can help you rehearse your presentation, using AI to evaluate and advise on pitch, pacing, use of filler words or informal speech, and wordiness before your big presentation.
  • During a Teams meeting, you can turn on live captions and subtitles: As you or your colleagues speak, Teams will display real-time captions that can clarify pronunciation and enunciation.

The ability to speak clearly is essential to effective communication: It helps convey a message clearly, confidently, and professionally. By practicing your enunciation skills, you can improve your communication and boost your confidence in any situation.

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