How-to: The Professional Voice

Lego Opera singer by Ted Drake on flickr. Used under a Creative Commons licenseArticle originally appeared on the Speaking Well in Public Facebook page, February 2015

Five key tips for success.

How you sound affects how your message is received. Taking control of the way you speak will help you to capture and keep attention and deliver that message with ease.

It all begins with relaxation and breathing. Relax your shoulders, stand up straight and breathe from your diaphragm (around the base of your ribs), rather than from your chest.

Slow down
Nerves can speed you up and people do tend to speak too quickly in front of an audience. Breathing from your diaphragm and paying attention to your consonants can help you master your pacing. Consciously speaking more slowly both projects and inspires confidence.

Everyone needs to hear you, and if they can’t, they won’t try to listen. Someone may shout ‘speak up!’ but most will give up and start staring at their phones. The first two points will help you project your voice without shouting, as will plenty of practice.

You don’t need to fill every second with sound, so edit out the distracting ums and ahs. A moment’s pause allows everyone, including you, to think.

Varying your pace, tone and volume, supported by natural expressions and gestures, will help keep their interest.

Enjoy speaking well in public. PH

Image credit: Lego Opera singer by Ted Drake on flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license

About Philippa Hammond

Speaking Well In Public offers a portfolio of public speaking courses for business, performance and social occasions designed and developed by Philippa Hammond, combining her skills and techniques as an award-winning trainer, working actor and voice artist. Philippa is a member of Equity and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.


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