Ah, the early morning conference call. You are sitting in a boardroom, wishing you had brought a Timmy’s with you while listening to someone on the other coast mumble their way through a discussion of the finer points of the new compensation plan. Even worse is if this person is YOU! So how can you make your speech less slushy and more clear? Aside from getting more sleep here is my favorite set of tongue exercises to help you wake up your speech. Just like putting your elbow on a table while doing a bicep curl, you can target and strengthen different areas by isolating them. So here’s the drill:
- Count from 1-10 to get a sense of how clearly you normally speak.
- Now bite the tip of your tongue. Allowing the back of your tongue to move as well as your lips, as clearly as possible count from 1-10 again. Then try this with the days of the week followed by the months of the year. Don’t forget to breathe, and keep the volume up – about a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-10.
- Second position: put your tongue over your lower teeth like you have a poppy seed in your lower teeth that you are trying to remove. Count 1-10, days of the week, and then months of the year as clearly as possible.
- Final position: stick your tongue out of your mouth and point it toward your chin. As clearly as possible count 1-10, days of the week and months of the year. If you’re ambitious, try the alphabet.
- Now wipe off your chin and count 1-10. You should notice a difference in clarity.
You can actually pull your tongue muscle, just like a hamstring so don’t overdo it – practice just once a day. And just a suggestion…practise in private, not in front of your team in the boardroom!