In public speaking, your voice is your instrument. You have to know what it sounds like. So I recommend you get a recorder and record yourself giving a presentation.
Then listen to it. Do you sound monotone? That’s boring. Our brains don’t pay attention to boring things. They shut off.
Here’s an exercise. Get a children’s book and read it to a child – and record it. You’ll hear yourself exaggerating the words – you’ll be much more expressive than normal. Now back off about twenty percent and you’re in presentation territory.
Most new speakers speak too quickly? Slow down. The larger the audience, the slower you need to speak. And pauses … they can be your most powerful tool. Pauses give impact to what you say. Use them. They’re really powerful.
Enunciation … make sure you’re speaking clearly – most of the time, slurring comes from speaking too quickly.
And then listen for any annoying habits … like ums and ahs. We had a high government official here who ummed and ahhed his way through every speech. It was painful to listen to.
Listen for other words you use way too often … basically … essentially and that younger generation favourite … like.
And practice relaxation. Do something you love doing the morning of – take a walk – get your energy up!
It takes time to get total control of your voice. Just being aware of how you sound is more than half the battle. Strange as it might sound, being yourself on stage takes practice.
If you have any voice exercises you do before you hit the stage, I’d love to know what they are …