Is your voice making your presentation boring? Are you losing your audience because of the way you talk? There is nothing worse than sitting through a presentation with a monotone speaker. It would be like listening to a song for 30 minutes with only one note. Or perhaps you can’t concentrate because the speaker is speaking so softly that you have to strain to understand each word. Believe it or not, the tone and pitch of your voice can make or break your presentation. All too often presenters focus so heavily on the content of their presentation that they forget all about their medium of speech. The truth is, how you sound can make an enormous impact on your audience. The audience will even make perceptions about your intelligence, credibility, enthusiasm, and honesty all based on the sound of your voice. Therefore, it is extremely important to remember that your voice will impact your presentation. Here are a few tips to help you make your next presentation pitch perfect.
Vary Your Pitch
Pitch refers to how low or high your voice sounds and all speakers can benefit from varying their pitch throughout their presentation. Some speakers find that when they get nervous, their pitch naturally increases and this can send a message to the audience that they are nervous. On the other hand, some speakers are so focused on remembering what to say that they forget to change their pitch at all and end up speaking monotone for the entire presentation. The best way to tackle this problem is by practicing and rehearsing until you are comfortable with what you plan to say. Then, focus on controlling your pitch and using it to reflect the emotional content of your message.
Inflection allows you to emphasize keywords and emotions and it helps you connect with your audience. You can actually change the meaning of a sentence simply by changing your inflection. For example, you could speak the sentence “I know the answer” in a variety of different ways and each way will convey a different message. You could say it in a way that implies frustration, excitement, confidence, arrogance, relief, or anger. Even though the words are the same, voice inflection can imply entirely different meanings. During a presentation, inflection can be used to make a more powerful statement.
The last thing you want is to hide behind a podium and whisper to your audience. You want to speak loud enough that even those in the back of the room can easily hear you. You will lose your audience right away if they cannot hear you clearly. Not only is speaking up important for communicating your message, but a louder voice also communicates confidence and strength. In addition, it will demonstrate your enthusiasm for your topic.
Another reaction to nervousness is speaking quickly. Unfortunately, when you speak too rapidly, your pitch increases and your words are more difficult to decipher. This also downgrades the importance of what you are saying. On the other hand, when you speak slower, your voice appears to have more power and authority and your listeners will have an opportunity to absorb what you are saying. A slower and more controlled speaking voice exudes confidence so try to speak at a slow, even pace throughout your presentation.
Do Some Vocal Exercises
Singers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from vocal exercises. Practicing vocal exercises is a great way to develop your natural speaking voice. Like any other muscle in your body, the human voice can be made stronger through exercise. There are several easy ways to exercise your voice. One way is to memorize a piece of poetry and recite it regularly as you drive or walk around. Practice reciting this poem in front of a mirror and imagine you are speaking in front of an audience. This is great for practicing pace, volume, and pitch. Another good way to exercise your voice is to hum a tune while gently massaging your throat muscles with your fingers.This loosens up the vocal cords, allowing you to speak more effortlessly. You can also practice singing the letters of the alphabet, reciting tongue twisters, or even deep breathing exercises. Finally, you can improve your pronunciation, pace, and volume by reading aloud. Pick a passage from a book and try employing these speaking techniques.