Have you ever met someone who is ALWAYS obnoxiously loud when they talk? How about someone who is too quiet? Or maybe someone with a ridiculously deep voice? Similarly, have you ever wondered what people think of your voice?
Voice volume, melody, strength, variety, and overall quality is an essential factor when it comes to how people view us. In any situation, while at a party, in the movie theater, or more importantly, while giving a presentation, people around us are constantly judging how we move, what we say, and how we say it.
Specific to presentations, some believe that our content is most important. While content may be the foundation of the presentation, your delivery is what will decide what the audience think of you, and consequently how they act on your presentation.
Here are three categories of voice that you should focus on to better your next corporate presentation:
It’s relatively obvious that if your audience can’t hear you, what you’re saying will be of no value. On the other hand, you don’t want to be “that guy” that comes out screaming with unnecessary enthusiasm. Actually in that case, the entire audience is just thinking of ways to kill you, or at least shut you up, which is probably not the takeaway you want to leave them with. Volume should be appropriate in strength and intensity and should be varied in order to add emphasis and dramatic impact to your speeches. Inaudibility is often associated with unintelligibility. If you want to communicate with your audience, you must project your voice. A great way to judge your level is testing whether or not the person sitting in the last row can hear you.
Monotonous vs. Melodious
You are either monotonous or melodious. When you speak about something, it is important to focus on conveying life, color, and melody. We have all had the one professor in school or conference speaker whose sentences come out flat, wooden, and without variety. How wide would you say your vocal range is? Any good speaker will vary their speech within every few sentences and sometimes just for specific words or phrases. Think of your favorite song, and imagine how many peaks from high to low and there are in any given 5 seconds. Those changes in pitch are what make you like the song and bob your head and sing along. While you may not want your audience to bob or sing at what you’re saying, you sure do want their attention, so it is important to make sure you have the right pitch and tune. If you think your voice might be squeaky, harsh, high-pitched, or flat, then you should work on your pitch. This will help express the necessary emotion and conviction needed to keep your audience interested.
Quality & Clarity
The essence of your speaking sound is your voice quality. It expresses emotional color. Your voice coloring is what you use to convey your feelings, and these feelings should be positive when you address an audience. Your thoughts are a form of energy that you transmit to others. Through the quality of your voice, you actually establish the tone of your relationship with an audience or with an individual to whom you’re speaking.
Speaking in a clear, smooth, and enthusiastic voice will help create a unique and useful bond of friendship and acceptance with your listeners. Conversely, if your voice is nasally, raspy, or lifeless, you are doing something wrong. The primary cause of bad voice quality is tension; both emotional and physical.
A useful route to developing your voice quality and clarity lies in the awareness of the different roles you play during a usual day. As a parent, employee, supervisor, friend, lover, shopper, seller, you inherently cultivate unique personality traits and voice levels. To improve your voice quality, you must become aware of stress, muscle tension, and relaxation in each of these roles you live with.
When it comes time to present, in any medium follow these next few tips and ensure a reduction of tension condition:
- Relax your throat
- Gargle water
- Take deep breaths
- Smile, for a whole minute before your presentation
If you reduce the tension in your voice, a pleasant tone will likely result which will in turn reel in your audience. Remember that the emotions and vocal colorings you express with your voice can arouse similar emotions in others.