Don’t Mumble – Your Communication Tip of the Day (One Reason why Todd Bradley is not the CEO of HP)
This is big. Assuming you have something worthwhile to say when you are giving a presentation, don’t mumble! Make sure you pronounce your words clearly. Clearly!; fully; every syllable; especially every ending consonant.
Don’t mumble! Not ever.
Here is a paragraph about the “who will be the next HP CEO” battles to remind you that mumbling is really not a good thing. (from the article: How Hewlett-Packard lost its way). Note the phrase in bold.
Four internal aspirants stepped forward. The strongest was Todd Bradley, the head of HP’s personal computer group. His group generated $41 billion in annual revenue and had tripled its profitability during his tenure. But Bradley had shortcomings. His critics said he tended to mumble in presentations… (emphasis added)
The article mentions other shortcomings, but being good in front of people is a big-time trait for a leader. And being easy to understand plays an incredibly important part in this. DON’T MUMBLE! If you do mumble, learn to quit mumbling. Then quit mumbling.
If you have a problem mumbling, and you don’t know it, you don’t acknowledge it, then I can’t help you. But if you mumble, and you know it, it’s time to get to work.
This only takes a few minutes a day – if you stick to it! Print out your favorite poem, your favorite Psalm, your favorite song lyric, mark it up with a great big slash between words, and read it aloud one-word-at-a-time. Put your lips fully together in between each word to force yourself to practice saying each word fully, and then stopping (ask yourself – “Did I pronounce this word fully?”); then, and only then, do you read the next word. Read at least one selection once a day, one-word-at-a-time, for a month. At the end of the month, you have a shot at mumbling less. At the end of many months, you will be speaking much more clearly. If you work at it, meaning practice, every day!
Here are some exercise sheets to get you started. Print them out, and start – today.
Once you quit mumbling and you speak each word fully and completely, then you can work on other vocal traits that you need to master. Like: never speak in a monologue; instead speak with vocal variety and verbal punch.
But first, you’ve got to get rid of your mumbling.