Have your business presentation skills got room for improvement? Most people, even if they present on a regular basis, could do with brushing up on their technique every now and again.
I’ve had so many responses to my 10 Golden Rules of Public Speaking download that, in this blog post, I go into more technical detail about the voice rules:
- Watch your posture
- Be audible
- Use pause meaningfully
- Colour your voice to clarify meaning
Understanding and adopting these 4 rules is vitally important to improving your business presentation skills. So keep reading to take some positive steps towards becoming a more effective and confident communicator…
Why your voice is your most valuable tool
I feel like this is probably a bit of a no brainer. However, in all my years of teaching effective communication, I’m still surprised by how often people overlook their voice as a powerful tool.
The evolution of language is arguably what has propelled us to the top of the food chain as Planet Earth’s cleverest species. Sign language, facial expression and body language are all valuable components of effective communication.
However, if you’re delivering a speech or leading a business meeting, it’s the words you’re saying that your listeners have come to hear.
Let me put it this way. Wouldn’t you want the packaging and delivery of a life-changing product to reflect the high value of its contents? It’s the same with public speaking. You need to work on your voice to make sure it supports the delivery of your words.
And for that, you need to follow the voice rules in our 10 Golden Rules of Public Speaking.
Rule 3. Watch your posture
It’s a difficult thing to be aware of your own posture, particularly without a mirror. But it’s so critical to the quality of your voice. Your diaphragm is there to support the projection of your voice. If you slouch, you’re constricting the space that your lungs have.
It doesn’t look too inspiring either!
Hunching over will negatively impact the quality and sound of your voice. So stand or sit up straight, visualise a book on your head, bring your shoulders back and listen to the voice that comes out. Confident, clear, authoritative and compelling.
Trust me, it helps.
Rule 5. Be audible
There’s nothing worse than trying to hear someone who’s too quiet! Consciously thinking about rule number 3 will help you to be heard. But sometimes this isn’t enough.
If you’re delivering a speech to a room full of people, get there early and consider whether you’re going to need a microphone. Get someone to sit at the back of the room and deliver the start of your speech to them from the stage. Can they hear you? Do you think they’d still be able to hear you with background music, chatter, or clinking knives and forks?
Ensure there are microphones if needed and do an audio test prior to “show time”. There’s nothing worse than a dodgy mic, particularly when you’re not 100% confident on stage.
If there’s no mic, learn to project and enunciate properly. Try not to mumble! Aussies are terrible for swallowing parts of our words, so make sure you don’t fall into this trap.
Rule 8. Colour your voice to clarify meaning
There’s nothing more boring than listening to a monotonous voice. That’s a sure fire way to lose your audience’s attention.
Use highs and lows in your voice to add interest and meaning. Think about pace and pitch. Can you add drama, anticipation, or excitement to your voice? Imagine you’re an ancient storyteller. How can you captivate your audience?
Rule 9. Use pause meaningfully
Pause isn’t just empty air. It can be so impactful!
You’ll notice the best actors use pauses with impeccable skill. So don’t be afraid of the quiet! It’s like an exclamation mark or a full stop; it’s actually doing something. It’s giving your audience time to absorb the information you’ve just given them. Plus, it can give you time to gather your thoughts.
Also, if you’re using pauses well, you’re likely to avoid falling into the bad habit of saying, “um”.
***FINALLY: Did you miss the other rules? We go into detail about rules 1, 2 and 10 in our blog post: Ditch Your Fear Of Public Speaking: Be Prepared.
If you’re serious about improving your communication skills, I really recommend you download the 10 Golden Rules of Public Speaking now and display it in your office. It will serve as a constant reminder that you CAN excel at effective communication – just follow the rules, practice and believe in yourself.
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