The Inspired Speaker Academy
No! I don't mean say budder instead of butter! This is about being precise, not lazy. D and T are a plosive pair. That means the only real difference in making them is that one is voiced (D) and the other is unvoiced (T). Other than that, they are exactly the same!
I've been hearing a lot of splashy T's lately, the result of either a lazy or an over active tongue tip. The "splash" is usually caused by the tongue straying too close to the upper teeth, either upon contact or as it releases. The placement of the tongue for the letter T should be exactly the same as for the letter D, that is firm on the ridge behind your teeth. I've included a graphic here because it's hard to explain, please excuse my ineptitude with a pencil.
The tongue should move up to touch the ridge behind your front top teeth and then retract straight back into your mouth. If your tongue slips forward at the end of your T then you are being too enthusiastic!
Try this simple exercise of sneaking a T in with the D's to create a more precise, less explosive T.
1. d d d d d d
2. d d d t d d d t (x 4)
3. d d t d d t (x 8)
4. d t d t
(as many times as you can without letting the T run away with you)
If you notice the T is more precise at the beginning of the exercise but that your habitual splashiness creeps in near the end, repeat the second line over and over again until you can do the third without reverting, then repeat the third until you can do the fourth comfortably.
If you do any work with a microphone this exercise is very important. Too much air on a mic results in headaches for sound engineers and less than desirable recordings of your beautiful voice. You'll have to slow down at first when you practice in order to retrain your tongue, but once you have the knack you'll be able to return to your regular speaking speed.
If you're like most people, you experience some jitters around the idea of public speaking. These 5 steps won't make your nerves disappear completely, but they will make your life on stage A LOT easier.
1. Rehearse your links:
You don't need to know your speech word for word. You don't need to spend hours rehearsing every day either. All you really need to know is what points to hit, and when. But you need to know that backwards. Make sure you have very clear, logical links from one point to the next. Practice them out of order to make sure it's a logical link, not a memorized one. If the links have a logical progression it doesn't matter how blank your mind goes you will never get lost. You don't need to hold the whole speech in your head from beginning to end, all you need to know is the very next step.