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New Study Reveals: This Gentlemanly Trait Wins Hearts

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Ever noticed how the way you talk affects how people see you? A study1 published in Scientific Reports shows how the clarity and style of men’s speech can influence how attractive they appear to women. Not just that, it even changes how men size each other up in terms of strength and status.

In this article, we’re diving into how speech articulation influences people’s perception of men and sharing some killer tips on how to become a more articulate speaker. Ready to become a smooth talker? Let’s get started!

The Study

The study named “Articulatory Effects on Perceptions of Men’s Status and Attractiveness” reveals how guys who articulate well might be more appealing to women. Why so? Well, good articulation often gives off vibes of intelligence, a good education, and a solid socio-economic standing.

For a relationship that’s going to go the distance, women often value these factors. They’re on the lookout for a partner who brings stability, support, and a stable environment for a future family.

Interestingly, how men view other men also gets swayed by speech articulation. Men who articulate well are seen to have more prestige than physical dominance. Now, prestige here means a sense of respect and social standing, often linked with leadership and influence. On the flip side, physical dominance relates to physical strength and the capacity to protect oneself or others.

What the study implies is that men with clear speech are seen as more skilled, smart, and influential, bagging them higher prestige among their peers.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

What is Speech Articulation?

Speech articulation is how clearly and accurately we pronounce words and phrases. Think of it as the heart of effective communication—it’s what guarantees that our message gets across just as we intend it to. It’s like the difference between a blurry photo and a high-definition picture. In the realm of speaking, articulation makes your words the high-definition picture everyone can understand.

Good Speech Articulation: Think of someone like Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey. They’re known for speaking clearly, with each word well-pronounced and easy to understand. There’s a reason they command attention when they speak—it’s not just about what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it.

Let’s say Obama was giving a speech on climate change. You would hear him say something like, “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” Every word is distinct, every phrase has impact, and the whole message is crystal clear.

Bad Speech Articulation: Now, imagine someone mumbling through a sentence, with their words running into each other, so you can’t really tell where one ends and the next begins. They might speak too fast or not enunciate their words properly.

For instance, let’s take the same sentence about climate change. With poor articulation, it might sound something like, “We’rth’first gen’ration t’feel th’impact of climate change ‘n the last gen’ration that can do somethin’ ’bout it.” Of course, the lack of clarity makes it hard for the listener to grasp the message (not to mention they might lose interest altogether).

Tips to Be More Articulate

Improving speech articulation can have a positive impact on men’s attractiveness and social standing. Here are some tips on how to be more articulate:

Practice Proper Pronunciation

One of the most effective ways to improve articulation is to practice proper pronunciation. This involves learning the correct way to pronounce words and focusing on enunciating each syllable clearly. But if you’re already a native speaker in your language, try these advanced tips:

  • Tongue twisters are fun and challenging exercises that can improve your pronunciation skills. They help train your tongue, lips, and mouth muscles to articulate sounds accurately and quickly. Regularly practice tongue twisters at least before speaking at an important event to improve your clarity and dexterity. Try these!
  • Listen to recordings or interact with native speakers to observe their pronunciation closely. Choose your favorites like Natalie Portman, Benedict Cumberbatch, or Morgan Freeman. Pay attention to their intonation, stress patterns, and subtle nuances in pronunciation. Try to imitate them to enhance your own pronunciation accuracy.
  • Pay close attention to your own speech and listen for any sounds that you struggle with. It could be certain vowels (e.g., the “th” sound in “thought” or the “r” sound), consonants (e.g., the “v” sound or the “ch” sound), or even word stress patterns (e.g., placing emphasis on the correct syllable). Self-awareness is key in identifying areas for improvement.

Slow Down

Speaking too quickly can cause you to mumble or slur your words, making it difficult for others to understand you. To improve your articulation, try slowing down your speech. This will give you more time to pronounce each word clearly and ensure that your message is understood. You can practice speaking slowly by reading out loud or conversing with friends and family.

I highly recommend an app like Orai to measure your speaking rate and to keep it within a reasonable level.

Clearing Up Consonants

Want to level up your articulation? Time to give your consonants some love! By enunciating consonants clearly, you make your words distinct and your speech easier to understand.

Think of consonants like the ingredients in a recipe. Each one has its own unique role, and they all need to be just right to make the dish (or, in this case, the word) turn out perfectly. For example, the “p” sound is like popping a balloon—you briefly press your lips together and then release, creating a burst of sound. On the other hand, the “t” sound is made by quickly stopping the airflow with your tongue and then letting it go, like tapping a drum.

The key here is to understand the precise way to articulate each consonant sound and give each one some practice time. I find that the best practice comes in the form of singing exercises, like this one:

Hit the Record Button

Now, here’s a pro tip: Start recording your speech. You know how athletes watch their game tapes to spot their weak areas? It’s the same idea. When you listen to a recording of yourself, you can tune into your pronunciation, enunciation, and overall clarity. It’s like having an outside view of your speech—you get to understand how you come across to others and spot the areas that need a bit of work.

Don’t shy away from sharing your recording with someone you trust—a close friend, a family member, or a mentor. Getting their honest feedback can be a game-changer. After all, sometimes it takes a fresh pair of ears to pick up on things you might have missed.

Articulation is More Than Just Words

We’ve talked a lot about speech articulation, but let’s not forget—there’s more to the story. When it comes to how men are perceived, a bunch of other things come into play too. We’re talking physical stuff, behaviors, and social factors. Getting the hang of these can help a guy level up his overall image and how he’s seen in society.

Physical Factors

Let’s start with Appearance: How you look says a lot about you. We’re not just talking about being runway-ready here. It’s about basic things—good grooming, clean clothes that fit the occasion, and basic hygiene. These little things can make a big difference in how people see you—and, how you see yourself!

Next up, Body Language: Ever heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words”? It’s true. How you stand, the way you maintain eye contact, and your facial expressions can all shape the way you’re perceived. A confident stance, the right amount of eye contact, and a friendly face can do wonders for your image.

And let’s not forget about your Voice: The way you speak—not just what you say—can change how people perceive you. A calm, confident voice can make you seem trustworthy and authoritative. But remember, context is key! Avoid talking too loudly when it’s quiet, and don’t whisper when you need to project your voice.

Behavioral Factors

Just like adding the right seasoning to a dish, it’s crucial to sprinkle in some other qualities to your voice and articulation to create a winning combination. Let’s take a peek at these behavioral factors:

  • Confidence: Record yourself speaking about a topic you’re really passionate about and listen to it. Notice the natural confidence in your voice. Try to channel that same confidence even when you’re talking about something you’re less familiar with.
  • Empathy: Practice active listening in your conversations. Reflect back on what the other person is saying in your own words, showing them you truly understand their thoughts and feelings. This skill will translate into your speech by making your responses more empathetic and meaningful.
  • Humor: Start by inserting light-hearted comments or relevant anecdotes into your conversation. You don’t need to become a stand-up comedian overnight, but getting a few chuckles can make conversations more enjoyable for everyone involved—and if you’re looking for how to be funny easily, check out our guide: How to Be Funny: 7 Easy Steps to Improve Your Humor
  • Respectfulness: Implement a pause before you speak when responding to challenging or important questions. Consider if your words might be offensive or inappropriate in the given context. This pause allows you to treat others’ perspectives with respect and mindfulness in your responses.
  • Assertiveness: Learn to express your thoughts and needs in a direct yet respectful manner. One way to do this is by using “I” statements. For example, instead of saying, “You’re wrong,” you might say, “I see things differently.” This way, you assert your opinion without belittling others.

Social Factors

Let’s dive into social skills, your status, intelligence, and kindness in a bit more detail and, more importantly, how you can enhance them:

  • Social Skills: It’s all about the give-and-take of conversation. Ask more open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing, and always show genuine interest in other people’s responses. Learn how to read nonverbal cues and respond to them appropriately.
  • Status: Do you speak confidently and positively when someone offers you a compliment? I like to keep a “Win List” of my favorite accomplishments. Show pride, but remember to stay humble.
  • Intelligence: Prove your smarts by backing up your points with facts or personal experiences. It’s not just about knowing a lot, it’s about applying that knowledge in a meaningful way. Whether it’s offering a unique solution or a fresh perspective, let your intelligence shine through in your discussions.
  • Kindness: Always choose words that are encouraging and supportive. Be quick to compliment others and show appreciation. This positive energy will make others feel good around you, and they’ll associate those good feelings with you.

Keep in mind, improving speech articulation is important, but it’s equally crucial to work on these physical, behavioral, and social aspects to boost your overall image and social standing.

Harness Your Vocal Tool

Speaking clearly and articulately isn’t just a nice skill to have—it’s a powerful tool that can influence how others see you. Think about it, who doesn’t appreciate a well-spoken, clear communicator? Not only does it make you more attractive for those long-term relationships, but it can also bump up your social standing.

So, how do we get there? Keep practicing your pronunciation, take a breath and slow down your speech, focus on every consonant, and don’t shy away from exercises that work out your vocal muscles. Record yourself speaking, and take the time to listen and find areas for improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either.

Every step you take towards improving your articulation is a step towards making a stronger, positive impression. Keep at it!

Want more? Check out our Science of People research hub or if you want to improve your speaking voice naturally, this one’s for you: How to Speak with Confidence and Sound Better

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