Aferdita asked Pamela about tips on how to release the jaw.
Q: I was in one of your workshops in Chicago and you talked about speaking more forward in your mouth; releasing your jaw to reduce stress and speak more clearly. Can you explain that process. I have difficulty articulating some words as English is not my first language. Aferdita.
A: Hi Aferdita,
Thank you for your question. When I say ‘speak more forward in your mouth’ it means to use the muscles in the side of your mouth and muscles above and below your lips. When you pucker your lips or pretend to send someone a kiss it’s that same muscle movement. Try it: say ‘ooooooooooooooooooo.’ You will feel how forward your lips and teeth operate in your mouth. You want this same sensation when you speak. You want to be understood. Practice this ‘ooooooooooooooooooooooooo’ exercise. It will improve your articulation and pronunciation.
We all carry a great deal of stress in our jaw. This forces us to speak laterally instead of forward in the mouth. This reduces articulation and focus. Try this exercise to reduce jaw stress and relax.
Take your thumbs and place one on either side of your jaw, just below your cheekbone (your fingers will be in front of your face.) Press your thumbs into your jaw muscles and feel the release. Increase or reduce pressure based on your tolerance. You may be surprised at the muscle tightness and slight pain when massaging this area. Be gentle and massage the entire area, from underneath the cheekbone down to the teeth and gum. For a great release, press your thumbs into the muscle right below your cheekbone and above your jaw line. You will feel it. Press gently into this muscle with your thumbs for a 15 second interval. Start slow. This muscle has been storing tension for years. It will take time to release the jaw, but be gentle and the results will be rewarding. Your pronunciation and articulation will improve greatly.
Remember, if you have a question for Pamela on public speaking, feel free to email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.