Imagine that you are standing in front of an audience. Your hands are cold and clammy, your knees are wobbly, and your stomach is in knots. You manage to smile but you can feel your lips twitching. You open your mouth to speak, praying that your trembling lips allow for your voice to come out. And, it does! However, the sound that ensues is anything but solid, stable or reliable.
Nothing is more embarrassing for a speaker than to be plagued with a voice that quivers, shakes, or skips an octave when standing at the lectern or the head of the conference table. It is a problem for many people.
Nervousness plus a sound arising primarily from the voice box and throat sometimes produces a wobble or a quiver to the speaking voice that cannot be eliminated until you take the pressure off your throat.
When I was teaching public speaking at the college level, one of my students was an older woman whose quiver was so embarrassing that it was difficult to keep your attention on her message because the shaking of her voice was interfering with her words. Without a doubt, Carmen had the worst quiver I have ever heard.
Once she learned to breathe and use her chest to power her voice, the quiver was gone. It is truly amazing to see and hear how this works. And, it works every time. For her final presentation, Carmen delighted the class as she described how to make the best Italian gravy – South Philly’s term for tomato sauce – with a rich warm voice that belied what we had heard in the beginning of the semester.
A quavering voice doesn’t have to be. Learn to breathe; find the optimum pitch of your speaking voice; allow your nervousness to work for you – not against you – and I guarantee the quiver will be gone.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, group and corporate training in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit her website at Voice Dynamic and watch as Nancy describes the best means of controlling nervousness in any form of public speaking.
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