The 3 C’s of Speaking Articulately

Brenda Chadambura


Confidence & Public Speaking Coach to Professional & Businesswomen,
like you, who want to become confident & articulate speakers.
I'm so honored to come alongside you, to educate, inspire & champion the best in you, in your speaking confidence journey.

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Hello, I'm BRENDA

Knowing how exactly to speak articulately, can seem so nebulous and quite daunting.  But I’m hoping that after I share these steps you’ll feel inspired to start using some of these techniques in your daily life and speak brilliantly.

Before we get to the 3 C’s  of speaking articulately, it’s important to lay the groundwork by understanding why we want to speak articulately.   Obviously we want to have the satisfaction of speaking our thoughts well and we also want our message to hit home with our listeners.

As we talk about the 3 C’s, it’s important that I give you insight into speaking habits that might be hindering your articulate voice. So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s dive right in!

1. Speaking Clearly

One of the things that your audience craves when hearing you speak, is a clear voice. It helps them understand your message simple as that. There is more frustrating than you’re looking forward to learning something important and the speaking has some verbal ticks that are making it hard to listen to them.

My hope is as you learn about these speaking habits, you are encouraged and empowered to know what to do differently. Please don’t feel badly if you’ve found yourself doing some of the things, I’m mentioning. See it as valuable information, that’s taking you to your goal…speaking effectively.


Speaking as if you’re constantly asking a question.  It makes you look and sound insecure.  It is also very irritating to your listeners because your tone of voice sounds as if your thought is never coming to a definitive end. 

People listening to you need defined & clear statement so that they can understand and remember what you’re saying.  Upspeak also sounds as if they’re listening to someone who is continuously & anxiously asking a question.  That, is actually anxiety-inducing for them.  

In fact, I call it “Doubtspeak” because it truly instills doubt within yourself and your listeners.  Diminishing your credibility and confidence in very crucial moments. 

What you want to do instead is, use a clear and assertive voice that shows you are sure of what you’re saying. 

Let me demonstrate the difference between upspeak and an assertive voice, so that you gauge how you’re speaking, from now on: 

Read these two statements OUT LOUD & pay attention to how they sound as you say them.  Are they inspiring confidence or doubt?:

“I am sure that I can handle the project?”


“I am sure that I can handle the project.”

Which person sounds believable as they make that statement? 

A good way to correct upspeak is to use your punctuation marks to guide you as you’re talking. 

A questioning tone for a question.  An assertive voice for a statement.


Now before I start speaking about ‘umms’ I want to reassure you not to be frustrated if you have trouble clearing “umms”.  It’s one that is the most talked about and it can seem like the hardest thing to master. 

Firstly, let’s just clarify what “umms” are & why they’re important remove if you want to speak clearly & effectively. 

When you pepper every sentence with “umms'” it is extremely anxiety-inducing for your listeners because as they’re trying to understand your thoughts, they’re contending with the mental and emotional irritant of “umms”. 

Imagine trying to cook a lovely stew and you have a fly loudly buzzing in your face as you’re stirring.  Not only are you flustered that the fly might drop into your food, but you’re now stirring and swatting the fly away. 

That is the same effect, “umms” have on your listeners, who are trying to connect with you and your message but are working hard mentally, to swat the distracting “umms” from what you’re saying.

By the way, when I say they’re irritating, it’s not that your audience is expecting perfection in your talk. 

They truly desire to listen and enjoy your talk.  However, the natural and human reaction to the sound of “umms” is, it’s distracting. 

So how do we get rid of them.  Firstly, please be patient with yourself as you practice speaking without “umms”.  It is a process.  There is a simple formula I coach my clients to do and it helps them get there. 

Here it is:


Before you’re about to start talking, pause, then think about what you want to say and then speak. 

In between sentences, instead of filling the space between them with ‘UMM’, take a two-second pause, as you think of your next thought and then speak. 

Take your time practicing at home with people you’re comfortable with so that by the time you speak at work, it’s becoming second nature to you to PAUSE.  THINK.  SPEAK.

Low Voice: 

If you’re prone to speaking with a low voice, again, please be kind to yourself.  It can be pretty frustrating to have people continuously tell you to speak up because they can’t hear you. 

But be comforted that when they are asking you speak up, it is truly out of a desire to hear what you’re saying and connect with you. 

So here’s how to overcome a low voice: 

Take a book, stand up and read out loud.  Do it when no one is in the room and you can really practice projecting your voice.  Standing up will help you add more volume to your voice and it just gives add more confidence as well.  

I actually read my Bible every evening in the kitchen, this way.  It brings the words and descriptions to life, helps me to absorb what I’m reading and it helps me to practice good voice projection. 

Give it a try and see how it transforms your voice!


A monotone voice has no inflection of tone in it.  It, unfortunately, sounds quite lifeless and can make it hard for people to stay connected to what you’re saying. 

So, here’s how you want to add inflection to your voice: 

Think of what you’re about to say and decide which word you’d like to emphasize in your sentence and put an inflection on it. 

It’s like putting a spotlight on that word so that your listeners immediately know they should pay attention to that word. 

Here’s an example:  Think of where your inflection would go in this statement:

“Why would they have made such a poor decision? What influenced them?”

So you might have put inflections here: 

Why would they have made such a poor decision? What influenced them?”

It can be really fun to start using this technique when you’re speaking.  Decide, I want to highlight this particular word to bring my point across & it will naturally make you speaking more interest. 

Go for it and have fun with varying your voice tones.

Trailing Voice: 

A trailing voice means as you’re speaking, your voice suddenly disappears at the end of your sentences. 

Instead of the assertive full stop voice at the end of your statements, listeners are literally left wondering if you finished what you were saying and what it was.  It frustrates them and destabilizes them. 

It makes you look insecure as well because you sound too afraid to validate your thoughts properly. 

Remedying this is easy. 

Practice using that clear and assertive voice we’ve been talking about.  Make sure you really pronounce the last word of your sentences, so that you sound confident and sure of yourself.  And voila!  You’re winning! It really makes a difference to the power of your voice when you do!

2. Speaking Coherently

This is the practice of organizing your thoughts so that people can easily follow your train of thought. 

The opposite, is thoughts that are scattered.  There is where rambling sentences might be found and there is no clear point to what is being said.

Organizing your thoughts is especially important to give your listeners are clear journey, from A to Z, of your ideas.  It’s also incredibly valuable so that you don’t go blank in impromptu speeches. 

Here’s how you tackle any unexpected question that your boss might ask or an impromptu synopsis you’ve been asked to give at a business lunch.

  1. Decide what is the most important point you want your listeners to understand or take with them? 

I call that your Anchor Point.  It anchors you in your train of thought and it anchors your

audience in that most important point as you explain things to them.

2. Then add  3 to 5 supporting points/facts around that Anchor Point.

For example:

“I think this new software is going to be good for our department (anchor point).

It will bring a great level of efficiency (fact 1) and accuracy (fact 2) to our reporting. And we can provide faster support for our clients (fact 3).”

As you practice using this anchor point method, it immediately grounds in situation where an unexpected question comes up and gives a clear structure to use in response.  It’s very effective.

3. Speaking Compellingly

This is where you now add some magic to your speaking and you do that through how you use your voice and gestures that help you bring your words to life.


We can all have great ideas but if we’re not able to bring them to life for people to grasp them, they fall flat.  So it’s so important to use your tone of voice to your advantage.

One easy way to vary your voice tone is to change the tone of your voice, to match the emotions you’re trying to evoke.  It is a powerful way to bring your talk to you life. 

The way to do that is this is:

If you’re announcing a new product that is going to be so helpful to your customers, get excited and use your happy voice as you make your announcement.  This is not the time to sound somber and circumspect.  Your excited tone of voice will encourage your listeners to feel the same about your new product.

If you’re around people needing to be inspired, your voice needs to be charged and confident so that they start believing in themselves. 

Think:  The locker room scene in the movie ‘Miracle’, when Kurt Russell is encouraging the scared US hockey players to conquer their goliath, in the form of the Russian hockey players.


Gestures are wonderful visual aides that paint a deeper picture of what you’re saying.  One effective way to do that is with descriptive gestures.

Descriptive gestures could be you fanning yourself to communicate how hot it was.

It could you drawing a circle in the air to describe a circular shape.

And the final fantastic gesture you could use in many meetings and busines discussions, is comparing and contrasting using your left and right hand. 

It truly makes you look like a thoughtful authority as you describe the two scenarios.  Give it go and see how people respond to you as you speak.

As you can see, many of these steps are easy but they do require you to use them continuously to make progress with speaking articulately.   

What I always tell my clients and I’d like to encourage you to do, is to practice at home with your spouse, when you’re having a conversation on the phone with your best friend and even when you’re reading books with your children. 

The more you practice speaking this way in a comfortable environment, the more you’ll enjoy your journey toward speaking effectively and articulately.

I’m cheering for you & your emerging articulate voice!

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