The World Cup has brought soccer enthusiasts out all around the world in record numbers! Recently, one of our trainers drove by a downtown pub that was exploding with thunderous cheers as hundreds of fans cheered on the U.S. team — and that got us to thinking.
Have you ever been concerned about your voice before a presentation? Has your voice been strained from being an enthusiastic fan the day before you were to deliver a presentation, or have you simply wanted to know how to improve your vocal presence during a virtual or a high-stakes presentation in order to make a greater impact on your audience?
As presenters, we often forget that the quality of our voice is an integral part of a great presentation. We may have a great story to tell and the perfect set of slides to complement it; but if our voice isn’t game ready (so to speak), our impact may be compromised.
It is helpful to remember that your voice is your instrument. Learning how to nurture it and how to get the most from it is an important factor to becoming the best presenter you can be. We bring you these few tips to help — whether you have strained your voice cheering others or just need to have your voice connect better with that person on the other side of a webinar, or sitting in the back of the room.
First, Think Nurture
Sooth: Gargling with warm water and drinking herbal or decaffeinated tea with honey will sooth your throat and vocal chords, and restore their vigor.
Hydrate: Drink plenty of clear liquids, preferably warm or room temperature — cold water restricts vocal chords and can compromise voice quality. Before your presentation, drink plenty of water and keep some near you. No one will be offended if you need to take a few sips of water.
Rest: You’ll be surprised how a little bit of extra rest can strengthen your voice. If you have a long or high-stakes presentation, limit your talk time before hand.
Learn to Leverage Your Voice
Breathe: Think about it. Your voice is a wind instrument. Remember to take deep belly breaths throughout your presentation. This isn’t the time to worry about a flat stomach.
Project: Imagine speaking (not yelling) to a specific person in the back of the room. It is amazing the voice projection that will come from just doing that.
Pause: Filler sounds (um, uh, ah, mm), filler words (basically, actually, literally) and filler phrases (You know…) are often the result of our brain trying to catch up to the speed of our voice. Practice slowing down and simply replace those fillers with a short pause.
Check: Think about turning your smart phone into a coach by recording yourself from time to time. High impact presenters make it a habit to check the quality of their voice, and a smart phone is always within arms’ reach.
Bottom line… Be sure to take care of your voice leading up to any presentation and leverage your verbal presence with intention and practice, and you will always be game ready!