Presentation Skills: Your Speaking Voice
There is one rule above all others when speaking: Make sure that your audience can hear you! If necessary, use a microphone. There is absolutely no excuse for not being loud enough. Practice projecting your voice before your presentation. In general, it is better to be too loud than too quiet.
In my teaching experience less than 1% of my students were too loud. Your aim as a presenter is to be heard and understood. People cannot understand you if they cannot hear you.
It is easier for you to speak loudly and powerfully if you breathe properly. Effective air intake and appropriate pauses during your talk will help you control the volume of your voice. Slow down your delivery if you are having volume difficulty. Breathe from your diaphragm or stomach and not from your chest. You know that you are filling your diaphragm if you make yourself “fat” with air. Practice proper breathing as much as possible before you present.
Vary Your Voice
Vocal variety is important when you speak. Periodically change your speed, pitch, and volume, going neither too fast nor too slow. Do not mumble in a monotone. A deeper tone signals more confidence than a high pitched one. Also, if you catch yourself stumbling or not knowing what to say, slow down and possibly even stop to catch your breath and collect your thoughts. If you blank out or choke, just smile! Only people with great self-confidence can smile, therefore the audience will assume you know what you are doing!
At the time you rehearse, practice using your voice to emphasize certain words and phrases. You should train your voice to deliver on its own so that your brain can concentrate solely on the message.
When we are nervous we tend to speak faster. Rapid flow of words encourages shallow breathing. If you want to reinforce an image of confidence, slow down. It is much easier for you to breathe deeply when you don’t speak too quickly. The audience will also be impressed by the power you project.
The above is an expert from the book, Secrets of Power Presentations.
Reprinted with permission of the author and publisher.
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