Whenever an occasion for public speaking arises, a number of thoughts and worries tend to pop up: Do I know my material well enough? Will the audience be bored? How do I phrase what I want to say just right? While content and language should certainly be primary concerns, there is another aspect of public speaking that often goes over looked: the voice.
Your voice is your delivery system for your message. If your voice is strained or not projecting effectively, it can distract from your message and make your speech difficult to understand. Take a look at the following tips to make sure your voice is in the best shape it can be when you need it.
Hydrate: One of the most important tips for a healthy voice is to stay hydrated. When the vocal cords are too dry, they don’t vibrate properly, and can negatively impact the quality of your voice. To stay hydrated, drink water throughout the day, particularly before a public speaking engagement. You may also want to limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, which can dry out the vocal folds. When it is actually time for you to speak, make sure to keep a bottle of water with you throughout your presentation, and sip it as needed.
Relax: Tension in the muscles of the neck and throat can inhibit the vocal cords from working properly and cause problems such as nodes and polyps on the vocal folds if not taken care of. Stand in front of a mirror and try to project your voice; you may notice visible tension in the neck and throat. Before any speaking event, take some time for some simple stress reduction exercises, such as head, neck, and shoulder rolls. In addition, make sure you get enough sleep the night before, so that your muscles are well rested and able to work more efficiently.
Breathe: We often don’t put a lot of thought into breathing, seeing it as something that happens naturally and doesn’t require thought or practice. But the way that we breathe for day-to-day activity and speech isn’t necessarily the technique we use in public speaking. In order for your voice to be projected, it must be sufficiently supported. There are certain breathing techniques that support the voice more efficiently than others. In next week’s blog, we’ll delve into the most effective ways to breathe for strong public speaking.
Want to brush up on your public speaking? Need some help with professional communication techniques? Let our team of corporate speech-language pathologists help you polish your speech and turn your communication skills into your most powerful professional tool. Give us a call at 212-308-7725 or visit us on the web at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com. Don’t live in NYC? No problem! Our services are Skype ready, so CSS can help you improve your communication from anywhere in there world.