Each May, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association organizes Better Speech and Hearing Month in an attempt to raise public awareness about speech, hearing, and language disabilities. Speech and language disorders can take many forms and can limit academic achievement, social adjustment, and career advancement. Fortunately, most people with speech and language problems can be helped. Even if the problem cannot be eliminated, speech-language pathologists can teach people with speech and language problems strategies to help them improve the way they communicate. Although they may not fully regain their ability to communicate, a speech-language pathologist can help individuals with communication disorders live fuller, more independent, and more functional lives.
In honor of Better Speech and Hearing month, here are ten tips for better communication:
1. Speak Slowly: Many people rush through their speech, especially when excited or nervous. Take your time to make sure you’re listener hears everything you have to say.
2. Pronounce Each Sound: Many people get lazy with their speech and run their words together, particularly in casual situations. Avoid “mush mouth” and make sure you enunciate all the sounds of each word clearly.
3. Take Note of Your Non-verbal Communication: It is said that up to 90% of communication is non-verbal. Make sure your facial expressions, gestures, and posture match with the image and message you want to project.
4. Speak Up: Let everyone hear your voice! A weak voice can be difficult to understand and projects an air of being insecure.
5. Confidence: If you project confidence, others will perceive you as being capable and sure of yourself. Stand tall and maintain eye contact when communicating.
6. Water: Dehydration can wreak havoc on your voice. Drink water throughout the day, especially if you will be speaking more than normal.
7. Protect your Hearing: Noise-induced hearing loss is more common than you think! Wear protective guards or ear plugs in extremely noisy situations such as concerts, and keep the volume on your headphones to a reasonably low level.
8. Pause: Remember the power of the pause! A well-timed silence can speak volumes. Use pauses to emphasize important points and give your listener time to absorb your message.
9. Deep Breaths: Your air is the power behind your speech. Make sure you have strong breath support when speaking, especially when speaking in public, to maintain a strong, confident tone of voice.
10. Avoid Fillers: Filler words such as “um” or “like” add nothing to your speech and make you seem inarticulate. Try to keep track of how often you use them and make an effort to reduce them.
If you or someone you love has a communication disorder or delay, contact Speech Associates of New York and allow our professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists help you communicate to the best of your ability. Our team provides in-home evaluations and therapy, and is trained in the assessment and treatment of a range of pediatric and adult speech, language and communication disorders. Call us today at (917) 841-2965 and find out how we can help you communicate your best!