Have you ever been to a meeting, seminar or a workshop where the speaker is so monotonous that you just want to run away from that room? You keep looking at your watch again and again hoping and praying for a break? You are sitting there physically but your mind has drifted to thousands of other places? And even though the speaker is sharing great content, you find it extremely hard to sit through the talk? I am quite sure you have been to at least one such meeting, seminar or workshop. But have you ever wondered why you felt so tortured? Well! You felt tortured because, how a speaker sounds is as important as what he says! In fact, it takes a very pleasant voice to bring a speaker’s words to life.
A Duke University study found that CEO’s with lower-pitched voices ran larger companies, earned more money, and held onto their jobs longer. And that is why business executives, celebrities, and politicians often hire vocal coaches! But what about you, what if you too wish to develop your voice but have neither the time nor the money to work with a coach? What can you possibly do to speak more dynamically in your one-to-one interactions and group addresses?
Don’t worry! There is an easy and practical solution. Implement these simple suggestions and you will most certainly be able turn your voice into a powerful asset and speak more dynamically.
Take Care Of Your Voice
- Breathe from the stomach. Breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest will help you in projecting your voice better and give you more confidence. At the same time, relaxing your mouth and throat will give you greater control on your voice tonality.
- Develop character in your voice. Humming is an easy way to warm up your voice. The lower you go into your chest, the more powerful you will sound. If you practice humming in deeper tones, it will create grains in your voice that will eventually give your voice a unique character!
- Never strain your voice. Rest your voice if you find that you have overdone it by talking too long or too loudly. Sleep is the best remedy to heal a sore throat. When suffering from a bad throat, cough gently when you need to clear your throat. Keep irritants like alcohol, smoke, and dairy products to a minimum.
- Pace your words. Rapid speech is great if you are a commentator. Otherwise, try breaking your thoughts down into phrases, just long enough so that you can say them comfortably with a single exhale.
Create Connection With The Audience
- Look for the friendly faces. If crowds make you nervous, scan the room for individuals who are smiling and making eye contact. Imagine you are talking directly with them.
- Tell a story that makes a point. It is easier to get your message across when you use interesting and memorable stories. When you are enjoying your own tales, your enthusiasm shines through and you can easily lead the audience to where you wish to take them.
- Interact with the audience. Great speakers also know how to encourage conversation within the audience. And once the conversation is initiated they listen deeply to facilitate further interaction. Showing up early and interacting with the audience can build rapport and give you a great start even before you get up to speak.
- Share great content. While you are working on the technical aspects of your voice and performance, keep your purpose in mind. What do you want to share with others? How can they benefit from what you have to say?
Extra Tips For Speaking Dynamically
- Practice regularly. Voice training is like any other skill and it will take time plus effort to build. Continuously work towards enhancing your performance. Record yourself when practicing, so you can identify your natural strengths as well as areas you need to work on.
- Model the popular speakers. See how presidents, newscasters and TV anchors engage their listeners. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, and read transcripts. Take notes about ideas you want to borrow and build on. Adapt their lessons to suit your own style.
- Avoid meaningless fillers. Too many “ums” and “uhs” can undermine you credibility. Plan for transitions so you won’t be fumbling for what to say next. If you need a second to reflect, try pausing instead of filling the gap with meaningless language. Tuning out internal and external distractions can also help you stay on track.
- Be mindful of your body language. Mastering nonverbal communication will reinforce the positive impression your voice makes. Stand up straight so you look open and relaxed. Ground yourself on stage so you look confident. Use gestures to emphasize key points and keep things lively. Use the entire space to move around and speak, don’t get stuck at one point on the stage!
- Recognize your feelings and allow yourself to feel. Even movie stars and self-help gurus can have stage frights. When you are feeling anxious about addressing a group, accept your feelings and transform them into positive excitement. Take the focus off yourself and concentrate on how to help others.
Making the most of your own natural voice will help you communicate your ideas more effectively and efficiently. It will help you be the catalyst that transforms lives. But there is one more thing you need to remember before you get started. Keep your content short and simple! In the words of Winston S. Churchill, “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”