Vocal preparation: A Few Tips to give you an Edge on Stage

There are quite a lot of unknowns as a presenter; however, one thing you have complete control over is your voice. In the same way that you research and spend time figuring out how to best present your content, you must also ensure you’re voice is prepped for the occasion.

Your voice is one of the most powerful tools that you have, insofar as if it falls down, the rest of the content does not matter. As such, in this post, we’d like to discuss how best to take care of it and prepare it for your presentation.

5 Tips to prepare your voice for a presentation

1.Know thE volume of your voice

Many presenters fail to pay attention to their voice volume, yet it plays a pivotal role in any presentation. Before your next presentation, ask a colleague or friend to sit down and give you feedback on how loud or soft your presenting voice is. This may seem like an unusual request, however, understanding what your ‘normal presentation volume’ is will help dictate not just whether you use a microphone in your next presentation, but also whether you’re overcompensating on the day due to nerves. Being nervous will adjust the volume with which you present, so be aware of this and make sure you are not shouting your presentation and likewise, not whispering it.

2.LEARN and practice your speaking rate

Anxiety will tend to result in you speaking faster than what you would normally. Ideally, you want to present at around 150 words per minute. Practising the tempo of your speech will help you keep time on the day as well as allow you greater capacity to emphasise different points in your speech. For instance, slowing down when you want to focus on an important point, and taking pauses to help build suspense and interest.

3.TRY TO remain calm

Unfortunately, when you’re nervous, one of the first places it shows is in your voice. Anxiety causes muscle tension and shallow breathing, thus exerting undue pressure on your vocal cords. A weak and squeaky voice is not helpful whilst presenting, so before your speech, practice breathing exercises to slow your heart rate. With practise, this will calm your nerves.

4. Embrace good posture habits

Posture has a direct relationship with your voice. If you stand improperly, it becomes difficult to effectively project your voice. Standing upright and not slouching will allow more air to freely move from your lungs and boost your voice. This may seem simple, but you really have to concentrate on doing this, as most of us do not have the best posture (even if we think we do!)

5. Avoid food and drink that will compromise your voice

Whilst its enticing to have alcohol before you have to make a speech as it can calm those nerves, here are a couple of important things you may not know: The vocal folds are just layers of tissue that rely on moisture in order to vibrate and create sound. Alcohol causes dehydration as well as mucous production, meaning that the folds dry out and you also feel a need to clear your throat. Both of these responses make public speaking a nightmare. Further to this, fatty foods, cheese, ice cream and excessive salt can also hinder your ability to project a strong and clear voice. Tif you’re thirsty, simply drink water.