Know what you really sound like – Record yourself having a conversation on your phone’s voice memo app and prepared to be surprised. You likely sound totally different than you thought you did.
Lose the up-talk – Does every sentence sound like a question? It makes you sound unsure of yourself and it’s distracting. To practice speaking without it, hold your arm out and read aloud. Whenever you reach the end of a sentence, drop your arm and your voice along with it.
Take it slow – Rushing when you speak gives the impression you don’t value what you are saying and it doesn’t give people time to absorb what you are saying. To practice slowing down, talk or read out loud to yourself and clap your hands at the end of every sentence to train your brain to stop for punctuation marks.
Eliminate fillers – Like “um”, “you know” – they make you sound like you don’t know what to say, like you need to qualify all your statements. Replace these filler words with pauses, which allow you to gather your thoughts and think more clearly, while giving meaning to the next thing you say.