Each of us has been raised in a different manner, which means that our values and behaviors will differ. As one example, some cultures may feel it’s best to keep our mouths in more of a closed position, even when speaking. That doesn’t always serve us well and here’s why.

Lately I’ve noticed several of my clients communicate with a very small mouth aperture or opening. This is obvious because I usually don’t see the interior of their mouth. This can create some challenges which include: tension in the oral area, speaking too rapidly, reduced volume and decreased intelligibility. All of this contributes to being hard to understand. When this occurs either in-person or on the phone, our listener(s) has to work hard and usually will tune out. No one can afford this result.

This month I’ve been assisting three new clients with ways to increase their mouth opening by addressing techniques in increased relaxation, efficient breath support, improved articulation and rate reduction. For some it’s a brand new behavior and requires commitment, patience and consistent practice. They’re finding that there are multiple opportunities to reinforce what they’re learning like phone calls, client meetings, staff interactions and presentations. Certainly there isn’t a shortage of opportunities.

As my clients integrate these techniques, opening wide will soon become more natural. The benefits will become apparent as they feel more confident, and save time because they don’t have to repeat what they’ve said.

Is opening wide a struggle or frustrating for you or someone you know? If so, let’s talk.