When you stand up to present you need to sound confident and in control from the very beginning. Your words need to be spoken clearly and they also need to be heard by the audience at the back of the room. And if your presentation is taking place in a room bigger than about ten square metres then its no use just using your normal conversational voice – you need to raise your game and project your voice to some extent.
Unfortunately however, at the start of a presentation, nerves can often be at their strongest and this can leave you rushing your words, speaking at a relative whisper or even being tongue tied. Learning some simple voice exercises however, can help you get overcome these obstacles.
How to project your voice & enhance presentation skills
Take a deep breath (from your abdomen) and count (out aloud) to 10 or as far as you can go without running out of breath.
Go on … do it now (assuming nobody else is in the room with you!)
Now do it again and exaggerate the vowel sounds in the numbers as you count them to get your mouth moving.
Now put the radio (or TV) on and count once more over the background noise, without exaggerating the vowels AND without shouting.
You need to get used to breathing fully with your belly (abdomen) and using that breath to project your voice – so practise this a bit more.
Slow down the beginning of your presentation
When you are rehearsing your presentation – try this exercise with the first 30 seconds or so of the presentation:-
Read out the first few sentences AND drag out the vowel sounds of each of the words as you speak. It’ll feel like you’re speaking in slow motion.
Now read it out again normally and you’ll be more likely to separate words, use the vowels and slow your delivery.
Go on, give it a try!
Add energy and clarity to your voice
Now look at the three tongue twisters below and read each one out aloud.
- Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers
- She Sells Sea Shells on the Sea Shore
- Where’s the Peck of Pickled Peppers Peter Piper Picked?
When you were reading each of these tongue twisters out, did you manage to hear every word you spoke clearly? If not, do the exercise again – and again until each and every word is being spoken clearly and distinctly.
Now turn on the TV/radio again and try the tongue twisters again and this time over the sound of the radio / TV or background music and remember NOT to shout.
When you next deliver a presentation
Just make sure that you have run through these simple voice exercises before you next have to present – and you will be more likely to come across with more confidence and clarity and be heard by all of the audience. Its all part of enhancing your presentation skills.