The best presentations are the ones in which you feel relaxed yet energized. Yet, if the thought of giving a presentation to 3, 30, 300 or more people fills you with trepidation, you’re not alone. Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is what most people say is their greatest fear. When it comes to speaking in public, signs of nervousness and fear show up in our voices, and are difficult to disguise.
Here are some ways to shed the nerves and get your voice ready to present:
Stretch out your facial muscles. They’re the ones that shape the sound, that give you good diction. As an audience member, an expressive face makes us engage and want to know more.
Warm up the vocal cords by singing, humming, or speaking. Find a bathroom stall, an outside corridor, a sidewalk or a car, somewhere you can clear the mucus and open the throat. This way you’ll enter the presentation space with clarity, both vocally and mentally.
Shake off the nerves by taking a few deep breaths and letting go of the results. Acting confident can make you feel confident.
Try out these warm-up exercises and breathing techniques to determine which ones work best for you. This way the next time you’re faced with public speaking, you’ll be able to access your most comfortable and confident presentation voice.
Screen Presence voice coach Marilyn Pittman provided the content for this post.
Women don’t have the deeper resonance in their voices that men do, so they are often challenged to be heard and respected in the way they want or deserve. Understanding your vocal presence and how to control and use it to get your message across is vital to being an effective speaker.
Here are some tips for developing a more powerful and persuasive voice:
Learn to breathe from the diaphragm so you have some air in the sound. Exhaling more air through the vocal cords with the help of the diaphragmatic muscles will give your voice more depth, volume, and power.
Develop your ability to evaluate your voice by recording it (surreptitiously!) in presentations and then evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. Is it too high? Too nasal? Too fast or slow? Work on one of these each time you present.
Once you’ve found your best pitch and rhythm, learn how to get yourself back to that best vocal place each time before you speak. For many women this will involve finding a lower range than your usual speaking voice. There are many exercises that can help.
It’s easy to neglect how we sound, taking our voices as a given. But, spending the time to develop your voice and turning it into a more powerful attribute can be a valuable and underestimated asset in a woman’s career.
Screen Presence Voice Coach Marilyn Pittman provided the information for this post.