Imagine you finally get to see a show you've wanted to see for a very long time. The show begins and you can't understand what the actors are saying. It sounds like a foreign language or mumbling. It's extremely disappointing. You can't even follow the story. What the actors lack is diction.
Diction: Speaking clearly by enunciating the consonants in words. Emphasizing the last letter in a word is important in diction. For example: the word "stop" would have a hard 'p' sound when speaking with diction. When a director says you need more diction it means that it sounds like you're mumbling. Your words need to be said clearly so the audience can follow the story.
Here's a diction exercise. It says to use a cork, but an empty water bottle or something similar will do. Pay attention to how your mouth moves during this exercise.
You might notice that your lips need to move more while you talk. Diction requires you to use and move more of your mouth than you usually do. Since these muscles aren't usually used, your mouth can get tired and achy after awhile. Make sure you work those muscles out each day so your mouth gets used to it.
You can test your skills by playing the telephone game, recording yourself, or speaking to someone from a distance.
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