We should make it easy for our audience to follow what we say in meetings and presentations.
They should not spend too much energy on constantly “decoding” our pronunciation.
Instead, they should concentrate on what matters: the information content.
One way to do this is using word linking, which creates a more natural flow of speech.
What is word linking and how does it affect speech clarity?
It’s basically how you connect words in speaking.
If you observe fluent spoken English, you will discover certain standards in the way words are connected. This is called word linking.
Word linking, when done right, can make you sound more natural.
A more natural flow of speech helps listener comprehension, which will conserve more listener attention and energy.
I remember a Spanish client who had to prepare an ESG presentation for investors.
The content of his presentation was clear and well structured in writing.
But when he performed the presentation, I noticed some distracting things in his #pronunciation.
One of them was the lack of natural word linking.
Which brings us to today’s topic.
There are various ways to link words.
Today we’ll focus on one of them: consonant-vowel connection.
Take this typical phrase as a simple example: “look at the chart …”
Opportunity for word linking with a consonant-vowel connection: look + at
We write: “look at”
We say: “loo”+”kat”
In speaking this happens very fast of course, and we don’t hear any separation. On the contrary, the two words become connected.
What happens when a word has two consonants at the end?
For example “impact”, which ends with two consonants (ct).
We write: impact of
We say (in fluent speech): “impac”+”tof”
Saying “impac”+”tof” sounds more connected than “impact”+ “of”.
the impac tof the company
(The underlining shows possible linking points, where there is usually no pause in speaking).
Two other examples:
- investors are asking (“investor”+”sare”)
- and in general (“an”+”din”)
Note: there’s no need to put additional stress on the second part.
Simply “glue” the last consonant to the first vowel of the following word and say the newly combined words with a natural flow.
Interested in word linking in more detail with examples? Send me a LinkedIn message saying “word linking” and I’ll send you a mini-guide with examples that you can study and practise with. (no need to register)
Thanks for being my reader!
Connect | Gábor Légrádi | MA, RSA/CTEFLA