Do people always ask you to repeat what you just said because they didn’t quite catch it the first time?
And after you’ve repeated yourself, do they ask you to do it again?
It can be frustrating when the people you’re trying to communicate with don’t seem to understand what you’re saying, especially after you’ve said it several times.
Struggling to communicate with others can even feel isolating and stressful.
It might seem like a problem that you just can’t get rid of, no matter how many times you repeat yourself.
But is there an actual reason why you have to keep repeating yourself?
And if there is, what can you do about it?
Keep reading to learn more.
Huh? What? Come Again? Reasons Why You Might Have To Repeat Yourself
There are, in fact, many reasons why you might have to repeat yourself.
Some of them are environmental, like background noise.
Some of them are more to do with the person you’re talking to, such as:
- Whether they’re hard of hearing
- Whether they have sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder, or ADHD
- How much attention they’re giving you
- How interested they are in the conversation
Although you can’t control the sounds around you or the abilities of the person you’re talking to, there are a few things that you can control.
These include enunciation and pace, prosody, volume, and pronunciation.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
1. Enunciation & Pace
Enunciation and pace are two sides of the same coin.
If you’re speaking quickly, you’re moving your lips and tongue smaller distances inside and outside the mouth.
This impacts your enunciation and can make your words come out less clearly than they would do if you were speaking more slowly.
Another impact of speaking too quickly could be that your sentences begin to blur into one another, which makes it hard for your listener to follow.
This means that they have less time to process what you’re saying before immediately having to process the next thing you’re saying.
Speaking too quickly can also prevent you from being your most expressive because you aren’t giving yourself as much time to flesh out your own ideas.
It’s too easy to lose your train of thought or move on to the next idea before finishing the previous one if your speech is fast.
If you slow your pace, you’ll have more time to be aware of your own ideas and you’ll have greater awareness and control of how you’re expressing them.
Speaking at a slower pace also helps with your enunciation.
This is because you can move your lips and tongue greater distances and produce clear, distinct words with pauses in appropriate places, such as to mark the end of a sentence.
If someone asks you to repeat yourself, take a moment to slow your speaking pace.
By speaking more slowly you’ll improve your enunciation, which makes it easier for a listener to understand.
If you do find people tell you that you speak quite quickly, and you didn’t notice yourself, this could be a sign of a cluttering disorder.
Cluttering is a fluency disorder much like stuttering.
If you’ve ever studied poetry, you’re probably familiar with prosody.
But for the rest of us, prosody is all about the tone and emphasis that you use when you’re speaking.
It helps us determine what kind of phrase it is, and allows us to respond accordingly.
For example, questions tend to go up in pitch toward the end, signaling that it’s an invitation to provide an answer.
It also tells us more about the speaker’s emotions towards the phrase: their prosody can express joy, anger, or be a neutral statement.
You could say a sentence like “it’s snowing,” and how the listener responds would depend on whether you sounded exited, or disappointed, for example.
Using the melody of spoken messages to engage your listener allows you to highlight the most important parts of your message, and share how you feel about it.
If someone asks you to repeat yourself, be mindful of your intonation and make sure that it matches the ideas you’re trying to convey.
When you’re asked to repeat yourself, it might be more to do with the volume than anything else.
Sometimes, the problem is that your conversation partner just can’t hear you.
The volume that you should be speaking at depends on the context.
This includes how far away you are from the listener, whether you’re talking in person or over the phone or other remote method, the background noise, and the location you’re in.
If someone asks you to repeat yourself, consider the volume of your voice.
You might need to move to a less noisy location, or speak a little more loudly.
Or, if you’re talking remotely, you could suggest that your listener increases the volume on their end.
If you consistently have trouble with the volume or strength of your voice and can’t seem to fix it, it may be time to speak with one of our speech therapists about speech therapy for vocal weakness.
It might be pronunciation that’s throwing people off and resulting in them asking you to repeat yourself.
Different languages, like Spanish, may or may not have sounds that exist in English, and vice versa.
If you’re multilingual or if English isn’t your first language, your listener might not yet be attuned to the linguistic diversity of English.
And there are variations in pronunciation even within English, such as the differences between English as spoken in Britain, Wisconsin, Texas, California, and here in Washington DC.
American English, generally speaking, includes pronouncing hard consonants, whereas British English omits them almost entirely.
Double check your pronunciation and see if there’s anything you can do to make it clearer for your listener if they ask you to repeat yourself.
RELATED: The Parts of Speech: Articulation
Book An Appointment At District Speech
Do you struggle with some of the problems named here?
Or would you like to repeat yourself less?
If so, book an appointment at District Speech.
We’re here to help you with any and all speech needs, whether they be voice or language.
Helping you to communicate effectively is always our first priority.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.