If you were an actor you would receive voice training using
the diaphragmatic breathing process. The reason for this is that an actor needs
to manage his breath on stage so the sound and emotions of his voice are effectively
shared with the audience. As a speaker
or a presenter your breathing process creates your speech sound; but it can do more
to enhance the quality of your presentation.
The first valuable key to managing your breath is that it will
help you to relax before and during a speech.
Taking a few deep breaths in slowly will actually alter your brain to create
a calmness to overcome you. This gives you time to re-focus yourself and gain control
over any speech anxiety. With a relaxed body your vocal folds (chords) relax to
produce a better tone.
To avoid running out of breath at the end of your sentences,
the second key is to strengthen your breathing capacity. Through exercises, such as taking in air,
hold it briefly, and letting it out gradually as you speak will allow you to
have some reserve air to use at the end of long sentences or a change in vocal
expression. This takes practice but it’s worth the effort. You will be able to project your voice
farther away to reach audience listeners at the back of the room without
putting strain on your voice or becoming hoarse or sore.
Your breathing is the core connection to everything you say
so the third key is to be sure your breathing style is working for your voice
not against it. If you think energy,
your breath will support the energy in your voice so you can sound enthusiastic
and motivate your listener to your message.
With a variety of energy levels you can create vocal modulation of your
pitch, rhythm, and overall tone in the delivery of your speech. Having enough air for the rising and falling inflection of sound will
link to the passion of telling your story to your listeners.
The mere fact that your breath is always with you as a
resource and a management tool, it gives you a choice of keeping your voice in
top form. From vocal relaxation, vocal capacity and projection, to a breath
energy that can keep going, it is vital to respect your breathing potential.
How do you maximize your breath with your speech?
Did you enjoy this article?
Brenda C. Smith is a Speech and Presentation Coach, and an author. Her
latest book: “BREATHE…Just Steps to
gives the reader specific exercises that they can
implement right away to help their voice power. All of the 7 Steps to
Breathtaking Speeches contain easy exercises to follow for anyone who likes to
learn on their own.
Vocal Impact & Presentation Tips
FAQ:How can I get rid of my nasal or whiny sound?
If your tone is nasal
it is caused by the sound being resonated in the nasal cavity and exiting through the nose instead of the mouth. It’s
okay for the sounds of ‘m’, ‘n’, and ‘ng’ which are nasal and will exit through
your nasal passage. However, all the other sounds do not. What happens at the
back of your mouth is that the soft velum has dropped down to close off the
opening to your mouth and opens a wider passage through your nose; therefore,
your sounds that should be leaving the mouth cavity are escaping through the nasal passage and that is giving them a “twang” tone.
Did You Know?
You can exercise
this velum or soft palate to strengthen it to rise in order to close off
the passage to your nose and open the voice passage through your mouth? So, you can physically exercise the soft velum to strengthen it.
Here’s one of the exercises that I do as a solution for my clients who have an
excessive nasal tone. Repeat the sound “ung” so the velum rises at
the back of the mouth; then follow immediately with the sound of “aw” to lower the velum for the sound to leave a wide mouth opening. Repeat "ung-aw" a few times daily – I call this my “opening and closing the garage door” exercise.
Take Good Care of
Your Voice! Speech Coach Brenda
Are you ignoring the rehearsal part of preparing for your speech or
rehearsal? So many presenters decide to just “wing-it” when they need to present
in front of a group of people. Even seasoned speakers need to be prompted to
rehearse. Yet, when I’ve had clients who
tell me after an event that went extremely well for them; they all say it was mainly
because they did just that – rehearse, rehearse, and rehearsed again!
Rehearsal does not necessarily mean that you must memorize every
single word and then rehearse it non-stop. First, memorization can have a
negative effect on your presentation because it will sound phony and not
genuinely spoken from your heart or inspiration. If you suddenly forget a
section, you will be thrown off and not know how to improvise to recover.
However, I do suggest that you should rehearse most often your
opening five minutes and your closing section so that you can begin and end with
confidence and a powerful sound. When
you do that, it becomes part of your memory like an osmosis process. The rest
of your presentation should be rehearsed in chunks of valuable points with
supporting examples. Once you have the first point rehearsed, then move onto
the next ones until you know each one separately as an entity unto itself.
Finally, rehearse the entire performance out loud standing and
moving as if you are presenting live right at that moment. You will have to rehearse your opening and
your first chunk; then your opening and first and second chunks; next, the opening
with your first, second, and third chunks; and finally, do it again with your
opening with all your chunks, plus your closing. I think you get the picture – rehearsal never
ends until you absolutely know your content.
The key is that rehearsing in your head is never a good substitute
to rehearsing everything out loud. You will be amazed at how great your next
speech is and how more confident you become as your progress. The bonus is that if you get interrupted, cut
short, or asked unexpected questions, you are so prepared to sound like the
expert the listener expects you to be.
Are you really going to chance “winging it” when you can actually
have fun improvising throughout a well-prepared and rehearsed presentation
anyway. That’s how you make authentic
connection with your audience.
Storytelling for your
business marketing speech is all about creating believability.
It may be time for
your to draw on some acting techniques. Actors are trained to tap into emotions and
truth so their characters or stories are believable. When the audience recognizes
the hope, fear, joy, sadness, excitement, or any other emotion; they are moved emotionally
themselves. They can make the connection and understand. So, how do you do this
without coming across as “fake acting?”
One ingredient that
actors learn to do is to paint the picture of the character or the situation for
the audience, so they can see and feel the moment. Actors spend time re-visiting their own
sensory awareness, (touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight) in their training to
help them focus on creating each story to be very real to the actor. Often the actor remembers a time when a
similar experience may have happened to him.
In telling your
stories during presentation, try to concentrate on creating any of the sensory
images for your listener, to let them see and feel your story. Put yourself
into the story situation at the moment you are delivering it to your audience. In
this way, the audience will connect with the story, whether it is humorous or
serious. Leave them laughing, crying, or
motivating them into action.
Actors are able to
get right into their characters or story. Lawyers who take extra coaching in
acting skills learn this technique in order to make their case for a client resonate
with the judge or jury, so that they can understand what the person was
thinking at the time.
You want your business
presentation to have that extra dimension to a story that will touch the
listener emotionally. That’s what makes if believable and your listener will be
motivated by your dramatically moving story to take action – a marketer’s
How can I relax when I'm so nervous about speaking in front of a group? This is a question that I'm always asked. The solution begins with your realization that you must be relaxed physically and mentally so that you are in control of de-stressing yourself.
Muscle relaxation of the throat and neck frees the voice from tension and produces a fully resonant vocal tone. Whole body muscle relaxation will also support your physical alignment with your vocal sound. Replacing your nerve-wracking thoughts to positive ones will reinforce your energy and competency quality in front of an audience.
Now that you know you must start with relaxation techniques, here are a few exercises that you can implement today so that it becomes automatic, and you don't have to worry about it anymore.
- Stand and do long stretches in all directions using your arms and legs; up, down, behind, low, mid, and high.
- Shake your whole body just like you are a swimmer coming out of the water and need to shake the water off your body. Be loose and free.
- Take a HUGE Yawn and feel that air hit the back of your throat.
- Take 3 slow deep breaths using your diaphragm (barrel under ribs and chest area); but definitely not your upper shoulder or upper chest area. Your shoulders should not rise; but your stomach should expand. Practise this until it becomes natural to you. Exhale on a big sigh.
- Mentally check that there are no lingering tense muscles in your body; if so, shake it out.
- Think of a relaxing place on the beach to transform your body, mind, and spirit into a calming power force.
- Mentally clear your head of clutter and fill it with energy and thoughts of "I've got this!"
- Practise your opening lines as an expert looking directly at your audience members as if you are there to help your listener with advice.
- Smile and enjoy the moment as a confident speaking guru of the ages.
- Repeat the above steps regularly and absorb it all.
Take control to rid your stress level by following the above steps until you can pass it forward to help someone else who may be stressed like you used to be.
Way to go!
Brenda Smith is a personal speech coach who brings her expertise and experience as a lifelong drama director and teacher to guide your transformation into a presenter with vocal power and presence. http://www.VoicePowerTraining.com