If you open your mouth to speak then as much as is within you, seek to make sure that your words are spoken with sufficient clarity and audibility. This applies to whether you are speaking publicly or privately, whether you are speaking to one person or to many.
In 1 Corinthians 14:7-11 Paul is addressing the issue speaking in tongues, but his words have equivalent pertinence when looking at the issue of communication generally. He writes:
Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me.
If words that are spoken are not clearly understood by the audience then “I am a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker is a foreigner to me.” Communication binds people together through understanding and understanding comes through being able to hear the words. Here are some thoughts:
- Consider your audience. Are you speaking to a vast crowd or just to one person? Speak clearly and moderate your volume so that all can hear.
- If you have a microphone, but aware of that and respond appropriately so as not too be too loud or too quiet. Perhaps do a sound check before you speak.
- Avoid mumbling.
- Use your mouth well so that word come out distinctly.
- Pace your speaking. Too fast and people will not be able to grasp; too slow and people can get frustrated. But better too slow than too fast would be my dictum; at least then they will understand even if they get frustrated.
- Consider the grasp of your language by the other person. If your language is not their first language then speak appropriately.
- Communicate to be understood. Big words can be useful in certain situations. But communication is meant to convey a message not to boost your ego.
- If you are arranging a social event do not have so much background music so that no-one can speak to each other.
- If you are in a situation where you cant get your audience to hear whether that be through excessive background noise or whatever, then best be quiet (or go somewhere where it is quieter).
- Ken Morey who was pastor at Feltham Evangelical Church from 1997 to 2002 provides a model for a preacher speaking clearly and audibly. You can listen to his messages here and consider his vocal presentation.