Your voice is always a key part of your presentations, as well as everyday communication. But when you are leading a webinar, hosting a conference call, or delivering content by phone, your voice is critical. Good voice quality, strong vocal habits, and clear speech are a must. Do you know how to make the most of this oh-so-important asset?
Analyze your voice habits:
1. Listen to your outgoing phone messages for a few days. How are your vocal habits and voice quality? These are habits you can practice every day…
Relax your voice:
2. Breathe. Sip lukewarm liquid. Do not clear your voice repeatedly, or you will make matters worse. Good news: strain in your voice is almost always more obvious to you than it is to your audience.
3. If you end sentences with upward inflections, you sound like you are asking questions, and it makes you sound uncertain. For more credibility, your statements should have a firm, downward inflection.
4. Slow down just slightly, enough to allow a slight pause between words and sentences.
5. Use a voice recorder or listen to your voice messages to check your enunciation.
6. When rehearsing for a presentation, record your words and listen back for good enunciation.
Better language habits:
7. Avoid qualifier words: “kind of, sort of, hopefully, maybe, just, just a little.” Example: “If I could just have a moment of your time, I will hopefully clarify my position.”
8. Reduce the number of fillers and non-words: “um, uh, ah, well, so, like, you know, and-um.” Example: “It’s like, you know, um, the meeting is going to be cancelled, so…”
9. Avoid “careless endings” such as gonna, shoulda, coulda, woulda, comin’, goin,’ etc.
Build better grammar:
10. Ask someone you trust to tell you if you habitually make any grammatical or pronunciation errors in your speech. These are “blind spots” we can only fix once we are aware of them.
Control your pace:
11. If you speak too fast, rather than s-l-o-w-i-n-g down radically, open your mouth wider, enunciate more clearly, and pause more frequently. These will help you sound less rushed.
12. If you speak too slowly, you may be focusing too much on the rehearsed words, or searching for the perfect word. Increased focus on the meaning rather than the words may help.
Um….Kill the Fillers:
13. Record your voice or ask someone to give you honest feedback. If your fillers are small and infrequent, you may stop worrying. If they are large and frequent, especially between each phrase and sentence, you will want to reduce them.
14. Record your practice presentations and voice messages. Try to breathe where you might have inserted the filler.
15. Become more comfortable with pauses.
16. Stay mindful when speaking. Don’t think ahead to the next point you are about to make. Finish each thought, pause, and then begin the next one.
Pause when you:
17. Want to add emphasis to a key point in your presentation.
18. Move from one slide to another, or after taking and answering a question.
19. Need to think about where you are going next, or want your audience to think about what you just said.
20. Want to regain the full attention of the audience.
What’s your pitch?
21. If your voice gets too high when you speak due to nerves or stress, you will sound less confident. Slow down, breathe, and try to speak in your normal pitch.
22. If your normal pitch is higher than you would like, be sure to breathe, open your mouth wider, and push your sound out with your tummy.
Warm up your voice
23. Before you begin your presentation, especially if it is in the morning, hum or sing out loud to limber up your voice.
24. Loosen your shoulders. Raise them up, up, up, and then let them fall. Slowly turn your neck to one side and then the other, giving it a good stretch. Keep that feeling of relaxation in your neck and shoulders.
25. Loosen your face. Open your mouth as wide as you can. Work your jaw up and down. Widen your eyes as wide as you can. Smile broadly. Release any tension you notice anywhere in your face.
26. Stand up when you speak. It gives your voice more power.
27. Smile when you speak. Listeners can hear it in your voice.
How do you stand? What surprised you? What are you willing to try in order to improve your vocal quality and habits?
Try the tips dear ones….it works out….plus the morning lemon water. Remember the benefits?
Sheila N Kimani