The search for good public speaking or presentation skills is on the rise. People want to know how to improve or hone their abilities to address an audience. One thing that is often overlooked, however, is training for the speaking voice. When you hear yourself on an answering machine, voicemail or some other form of recording, do you like what you hear? Indeed, if you are like most people, your answer is probably No.
- When you consider that the sound of your speaking voice accounts for 37% of the image you are projecting, then you might want to take a moment and think about what your voice is saying about you.
While you may feel that your voice is more of a liability than an asset, you have a better voice inside of you which I refer to as your ‘real’ voice. The only way you can find it, however, is by changing how you produce it. Most people rely on 4 of their 5 resonators to for voiced sound. Those 4 resonators consist of your vocal folds, throat, mouth and nose. The one that is not being used is your chest.
All great speaking voices have one characteristic in common: warmth, like a blanket around your shoulders. They are not loud, shrill, or harsh. This rich, warm, quality is a result of the tremendous vibration that occurs in the huge cavity of your chest when you place your voice properly. (Incidentally, this applies to the singing voice as well.)
In order to achieve this sound, however, you will have to learn how to breathe with the support of your diaphragm. When you breathe in this manner, you will discover not only the best means of eliminating much of the stress in your life, but also the best means of controlling your nervousness in any form of public speaking. And that is where your presentation skills will improve.
By harnessing your nervousness, you will be able to concentrate on your delivery and not on your nerves. Your voice will no longer quiver, your pitch will not rise unless you want it to, and you will no longer spit out your words at 100 mph! When you are in control of that nervous energy, you will then be able to focus on delivering your material to your audience and not at them, speaking with color, with life, with emotion.
While I am a huge advocate of practicing your material out loud over and over and over again, all that practice will do nothing to improve the sound of your speaking voice. Discover your ‘real’ voice, however, and watch what happens to your presentation skills!
The Voice Lady, Nancy Daniels, offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It! the only video training on voice improvement. If you would like to see some a dramatic 'before' & 'after' video clips, start with Craig by visiting Nancy's Voice Training Website in the center of the page. Then check out other Before & After video clips in the menu bar.