I happened to be watching Sky News this lunchtime – taking a break from my more normal working routine.
What caught my attention though wasn’t the normally slick presentation that you come to expect from most of the Sky presenters.
It was the fact that I just couldnt make out what the Business Presenter was saying! I’m quite interested in the Business News after all – especially given our livelihood is very much dependent on how quickly we can all drag ourselves and the country out of this recession!
So did I have too much to drink last night that I was still hungover and not fully alert?
Yes I did probably did have too much to drink last night – having watched Andy Murray beat Juan Martin Del Potro in a captivating tennis singles final in Montreal.
But both my hearing and my brain were working fairly normally by that time – after all it was more than 12 hours after the event!
So what was it?
More hurry less speed
The presenter was speaking too quickly.
She might have had a fixed time slot and had a lot to say – in fact she did have a lot to say. But she wasn’t able to communicate that to her audience. (Or to me at least.)
Her voice lacked diction which meant that she tended to merge one syllable into the next. She was also speaking quickly which resulted in her merging one word into the next. And, because she didn’t want to pause at any time she also merged one sentence into the next.
The net effect was that she completed everything she wanted to say in her short time slot.
But myself, and probably many other viewers were none the wiser about what was happening in the world of business this afternoon!
So I switched over to the BBC.
Slow down when you present
Lots of people speed up when they present. A bit like the Sky presenter really. Much of this is down to nerves.
The problem is that if you speed up and your voice is not clear enough as a result, then the people you are presenting to are probably not going to fully understand what you are trying to say. Not a good result really!
We’ve included a few voice exercises for presenters in an earlier article. So, if you think this might be relevant to yourself, before you present next – try them out.
Clarity of voice and message
And try to remember that both the speed you are speaking at and your diction (how clear your words are) will potentially determine how well your audience hear what you have to say.
You might be presenting what is a well written, superbly structured and very persuasive presentation but if your audience can’t hear all the words you are speaking then there’s little chance that you are going to achieve your purpose.
A little more preparation and awareness of how you come across vocally however can make a significant difference to the impact you have on your audience.