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How to Improve Your Business Voice for Presentations

How well does your voice sound during a business presentation?

If you’re not satisfied with how you pitch your message, neither are your listeners. In fact, a recent research conducted by Quantified Impressions, a communications analytics company, showed that the sound of a person’s voice strongly influences how they’re seen.

The corporate world accentuates a hustle and bustle of daily conversations, from business meetings to project planning, client negotiations and the like. This is why a strong and confident voice helps portray a professional image. Non-verbal cues such as body language, gesture, and posture only reinforce what you say.

If you’ve been opting for effective and persuasive presentations, start with your voice.

Why Your Vocal Image is Important

People are hard-wired critics. Right after you’ve entered the room, your audience makes snap judgments on your speech credibility. The impression that listeners create based on your speaking voice is often referred to as the vocal image.

Your speaking voice says a lot about you. It’s a signature that creates assumptions about your age, intelligence, background and emotional state. Since it gives your viewers a peek of what you offer, this builds their interest in your presentation.

The Wall Street Journals’ Sue Shellenbarger cites Quantified Communications’ study to emphasize that the sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the message’s content. Voice is accounted for 23% of listener’s evaluation, while the message’s content only amounted to 11%.

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Tips to Boost Your Vocal Image

There’s nothing more embarrassing than standing in front of a crowd that isn’t paying attention to you. Persuade your audience like a pro by boosting your vocal image with a little know-how and practice. According to presentation trainer David Woodford, there are four crucial points to consider for vocal clarity:

Watch Your Pitch

How you articulate your voice plays a big role in capturing your audience’s interest. A good combination of high and low vocal pitches jazzes up your presentation.

Your pitch goes up when you feel excited but then drops when something serious comes up. Varying your pitch emphasizes your main ideas. Avoid speaking in a monotone voice so as not to bore your listeners.

Manage Your Pacing

Practice speaking at the right speed to maintain your audience’s interest. Speaking too quickly or too slowly makes it harder for them to follow your talk.

Control Your Vocal Power

Keep the attention going by controlling the power of your voice to break the dull discussion. Whether you’re whispering or shouting at the top of your lungs, your vocal volume increases focus and emphasis.

Anticipate Pauses

Necessary pauses let your audience hold their thoughts. People tend to be swamped with a lot of information, making them want to escape. Anticipating pauses in your discussion allows points to sink in.

Related Speech Practices

Record Your Voice

Practice with a tape recorder so you can listen to your own voice. This is the ideal way to evaluate how your voice sounds, including factors like your tone, pitch, accent, and word choices.

Ask a Friend or Co-Worker About Your Bad Habits

If you’re unsure about evaluating yourself, try asking a friend about your bad habits. Having someone to critique your voice quality makes it easier to identify your total vocal image’s pros and cons.

Increase Your Fluid Intake

Good water intake keeps your vocal cords healthy.  Drink enough water every day to keep yourself from frequently clearing your throat.

Conclusion

If you want to exude confidence and professionalism in your presentation, don’t overlook the subtle power of your vocal image. Learn the different ways you can play with your voice, whether it’s the volume, pitch, speed, or the words you’re using. Always evaluate yourself, or ask others to critique you, by recording yourself and identifying areas you can improve in.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too: practicing won’t do any good if you overdo it and end up with a sore throat. With enough determination, you’ll have a business voice that’ll seal business deals in no time.

 

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References

Delivering an effective presentation.University of Leicester. n.d. Accessed April 7, 2015.
How to Use Body Language Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Explaining Ethos.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Shellenbarger, Sue. “Is This How You Really Talk?.The Wall Street Journal. April 22, 2013. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Woodford, David. “Persuasive Presentations – It’s In The Voice!Business Know-How. n.d. Accessed April 7, 2015.

 

Featured Image: on Pixabay

What Makes an Effective Presentation Expert Voice?

Your PowerPoint is only one thing—a visual aid to help you explain your message. Don’t skimp out on improving your main presentation tool: your voice.

Let’s get into the different important characteristics of an effective presentation expert voice, and how to best improve each of them.

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Audibility

An audible voice isn’t necessarily loud. Audibility is being heard with little effort from your listeners. Adjust your volume to the particular speaking situation. You shouldn’t use a deep, booming voice in a private conversation, nor should you whisper at a public speaking event.

Practice to get to the perfect speaking volume. Try speaking in front of three different groups: one of fifty, one of eight, and a single person. This trains your voice for different audience sizes while also building your confidence.

Pleasantness

According to marketing guru Jim Joseph, your tone of voice can greatly affect people’s perception of your brand. A voice that is resonant and well-modulated is pleasant, while a high-pitched and raspy voice is unpleasant.

Speak in your most audible yet relaxed voice, neither sounding too strained nor bored. Get constructive feedback from friends or family members. Alternatively, record yourself speaking and note problem areas for improvement.

Fluency

Fluency refers to language’s smooth, easy, and effortless flow, which you can achieve by speaking at an appropriate rate. You can also do this by using pauses.

Your rate of speaking depends on the ideas you’re discussing.

Slow down when emphasizing important points, and speak a little faster through your speech’s more routine parts. A pace that’s too slow bores an audience to sleep, while a ridiculously quick pace exhausts and tunes out your listeners.

Flexibility

Flexibility refers to variations in vocal qualities to express different moods, emotions, and meanings, including pitch, volume, rate, and quality.

Use what you’ve learned from the previous characteristics and put them all together in various ways for each presentation. Rely on experience and personal judgement to adapt to different situations.

Conclusion

Even the best-designed slides can’t talk directly to an audience.

It’s still your responsibility to communicate with them. Don’t neglect your most important communication tool and pave your way towards consistently successful presentations.

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References

Engage a Disinterested Audience Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 5, 2015. Accessed May 13, 2015.
Fluency: Concepts and Research.” Big Ideas in Beginning Reading. Accessed May 13, 2015.
Joseph, Jim. “Your Tone of Voice Can Boost or Bruise Your Personal Brand.” Entrepreneur. May 28, 2014. Accessed May 13, 2015.
Your Voice Is The Most Valuable Presentation Tool.” SlideGenius, Inc. January 27, 2015. Accessed May 13., 2015.

 

Featured Image: “The Voice” by Ed Schipul on flickr