Elocution, Accent Softening & Voice Coaching - Stage 1

by Martin MacLeod

Elocution Lessons - or simply how to make yourself heard at work

Elocution has been around for centuries as a means of helping people to speak with more clarity and finesse. But can some simple elocution lessons or voice coaching lessons actually help improve your impact when you speak today? And does it really have some place in business training?

Try some of the very simple exercises in this and a followup article and find out for yourself if elocution or voice coaching might offer you a means of creating more impact the next time you are speaking.

Elocution Lesson One - Breathing & Relaxation

Firstly we are going to try and relax and take a few deep breaths. OK? And when you breathe in deeply try not to move your shoulders too much but breathe in from your belly (or stomach).

Ready? OK ...Breathe in ..... deeply ... remember to use your stomach ... and now wait a few seconds .... then breathe out slowly .... and count out aloud as you do it ...

... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ... 6... 7 ... 8 ... 9 ... 10 ...

... 11 ... 12 ... 13 ... 14 ... 15 ... 16 ... 17 ... 18 ... 19 ... 20.

Try and count all the way to 20 as you breathe out.

OK normal breath in again ... and out.

Now lets try the deep breathing exercise again and count slowly all the way to 20.

So ... Breathe in ..... deeply ... and ... wait a few seconds .... then breathe out slowly .... and count out aloud as you do it

... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ... 6... 7 ... 8 ... 9 ... 10 ...

... 11 ... 12 ... 13 ... 14 ... 15 ... 16 ... 17 ... 18 ... 19 ... 20.

.... try and count all the way to 20 as you breathe out.

Elocution Lesson Two - Text Reading

How about reading out some text aloud? OK?

Print out this page. Then Find yourself a room where you wont be disturbed - or overheard!.

Now read the following paragraph:-

It was a beautiful day in more ways than one when Gerry finally decided to ask Sally to marry him. The Summer weather had now settled down and although there were still a few clouds in the sky, it was a very bright, blue sky that greeted them as they left the motel. Gerry took Sally by the arm and embraced her. And in that moment, he knew they were meant for each other.

Now read it again but this time think about how much your mouth is opening. Try and open your mouth as wide as possible when you speak each word. In fact try and speak each word individually and not as part of a sentence. Try and make each word sound clear as possible. Try and "spit" out each of the words.

OK that probably sounds somewhat strange! What we are trying to do there is to make each word have a beginning and an end. Oftentimes when we speak we "slurrrrrr" our speech and do not take enough effort to pronounce each word clearly enough.

So lets repeat the paragraph one more time. This time reading it as a whole piece of text (not individual words without meaning) and making it sound as exciting (and emotional) a moment for Jerry as you possibly can.

And how did that sound to you?

In our next article - "Elocution, Accent Softening & Voice Coaching - Stage 2", we'll look at how tongue twisters can help exercise the jaw, lips and tongue to help ensure more clarity when you speak.

About the Author:
Martin MacLeod is a director and co founder of Skillstudio Limited, the UK based Presentation & Communication Skills training company.
Skillstudio offer a range of public courses throughout the UK, including:-
• Presentation Skills (3 different levels) • Communication Skills • Body Language Awareness • Vocal Impact • Job Interview Skills
Skillstudio also offer 1-2-1 coaching and in-house training throughout the UK and Europe in:
• Presentation Skills • Public Speaking • Communication Skills • Interview Technique • Media Skills • Assertiveness • Body Language Awareness • Chairperson Skills • Facilitation Skills • Telephone Technique • Vocal Skills • Accent Softening • Elocution
For more information on the and other training offered by Skillstudio check their website at or call 08456 444 150