Level Up Your Public Speaking
How you sound can be as important as what you say. A pleasant voice brings your words to life and may put more money in your pockets. Change your speech habits from dull to dynamic. Making the most of your own natural voice will help you to communicate your ideas and enjoy more success. Here are a few pointers to help you level up on your public speaking.
A Duke University study found that CEO’s with lower-pitched voices ran larger companies, earned more money, and held onto their jobs longer. No wonder business executives, celebrities, and politicians often work with vocal coaches.
Even if your time and funds are limited, you can turn your voice into an asset. Take a look at these simple practices to help you polish your speech.
Caring for Your Voice
- Breathe deeply. Breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest will help you to project your voice and give you more confidence. At the same time, relaxing your mouth and throat gives you greater control.
- Develop resonance. Humming is an easy way to warm up your voice. The lower you go into your chest, the more powerful you’ll sound.
- Avoid strain. Swallowing is gentler than coughing when you need to clear your throat. Keep irritants like alcohol, smoke, and dairy products to a minimum. Rest your voice if you find that you’ve overdone it by talking too long or too loudly.
- Pace yourself. Rapid speech is great if you’re a race track announcer. Otherwise, try breaking your thoughts down into phrases just long enough so that you can say them comfortably with a single breath.
Connecting With Your Audience
- Focus on friendly faces. If crowds make you nervous, scan the room for individuals who are smiling and making eye contact. Imagine you’re talking directly with them.
- Tell stories. It’s easier to get your message across when you use interesting and memorable stories. When you enjoy your own tales, your enthusiasm shines through.
- Encourage conversation. Great speakers also know how to listen and promote interaction. Show up early so you can chat with others beforehand. Invite questions and comments.
- Give generously. While you’re working on the technical aspects of your voice and performance, keep your purpose in mind. What do you want to share with others? How can they benefit from what you have to say?
More Tips for Dynamic Speaking
- Practice regularly. Voice training is like any other skill. Take advantage of opportunities to work on your performance. Record yourself so you can identify your natural strengths and areas you want to work on.
- Study others. See how presidents, anchormen and media personalities engage their listeners. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, and read transcripts. Take notes about ideas you want to borrow and build on. Adapt their lessons to suit your own style.
- Eliminate fillers. Too many “ums” and “uhs” can undermine your credibility. Plan for transitions so you won’t be fumbling for what to say next. If you need a second to reflect, try pausing instead of filling the gap with meaningless language. Tuning out internal and external distractions can also help you stay on track.
- Local and cultural accents. The world is a global melting pot. We sometimes have to make adjustments in order to be understood without bias. Don’t worry. You don’t have to change who you are. For example, a strong accent that is common in Boston or in southern states for instance, can be difficult to interpret for the average ear and even for an international audience. Once you go home, you can go “pahk your cahh in the yahd” or “cawl” your bestie in if you’re a “New Yawka.”
- Watch your body language. Mastering nonverbal communication will reinforce the positive impression your voice makes. Stand up straight so you look open and relaxed. Use gestures to emphasize key points and keep things lively.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Even movie stars and self-help gurus can have stage jitters. When you’re feeling anxious about addressing a group, accept your feelings and transform them into positive excitement. Take the focus off yourself and concentrate on how to help others.
- Know your audience. Be clear on capturing your audience and understanding their language. People love having someone who they identify and resonate with delivering a message. This may impact your vernacular and nuances to capture and sustain your audience.
- Teleprompter. If you are speaking at a professional event, you may have a teleprompter. If you are at home, consider purchasing an inexpensive teleprompter app for your phone, tablet or computer.
- Self record and review your rehearsal. It can be very difficult to be objective about your own presentation. Try recording yourself and reviewing your performance. How is your body language? How is your tone? Are you getting your point across? Is there someone that you trust who can help you? You don’t have to spend too much time on this, but learn to be aware of what is working the best as well as any distractions. Also think about what you can do to have an impactful presence.
Looking forward to hearing you now that you are able to level up!