One of your important nonverbal tools is articulation — the ability to speak clearly and understandably.
I thought of this last weekend while watching my local Washington, D.C., television newscast. I got to wondering why certain weathercasters have such a difficult time with the word temperature. It’s a common, unassuming four-syllable word that they use time and again. So why do they think it’s okay to say “temp-a-cher” instead? (my wife has no doubt grown tired of hearing me mutter in the direction of our TV set, “It’s temp-er-a-ture!!! Not temp-a-cher!!!”). Is the chief meteorologist not watching the weekend weathercasts? Correct pronunciation of this oft-used word seems such a basic qualification to deliver the weather to thousands of viewers.
Then there are the news anchors who say “shtrong” instead of strong. Or “shtraight” rather than straight. I don’t believe it’s a matter of different regional accents for these news readers originally hail from different parts of the country.
Why does all this matter? It matters because media sources sometimes take their cues from broadcasters. If sources hear “shtrong” and “temp-a-cher” regularly, what’s to stop them from using such inarticulate enunciation when being interviewed by reporters? They run the risk of sounding ill-informed. Bottom line: Do not take tips from these folks.
Articulation is an important audio key. To prevent yourself from falling into sloppy habits like those described here during your presentations and media interviews, record yourself, then listen and commit to correcting any pronunciation slips. You’ll be a shtronger communicator as a result.