How to turn your voice into a powerful asset
Have you ever been to a meeting, seminar, or workshop where the speaker is so monotonous that you just want to run away from that room? Do you keep looking at the clock over and over again hoping and praying for a break? Are you physically sitting but your mind has drifted to thousands of other places? And even though the speaker is sharing great content, is it extremely difficult for you to sit down during the talk? I’m pretty sure you’ve attended at least one of these meetings, seminars, or workshops. But have you ever wondered why you felt so tortured? Well! You felt tortured because how a speaker sounds is just as important as what he says! In fact, it takes a very nice voice to bring a speaker’s words to life.
A Duke University study found that CEOs with lower voices ran larger companies, made more money, and kept their jobs longer. And that’s why business executives, celebrities, and politicians often work with vocal trainers! But what about you? What if you also want to develop your voice but don’t have the time or money to work with a coach? What can you do to speak more dynamically in your one-on-one interactions and group addresses?
Do not worry! There is a simple and practical solution. Implement these simple tips and you can surely turn your voice into a powerful asset and speak more dynamically.
Take care of your voice
- Breathe from the stomach. Breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest will help you project your voice better and give you more confidence. At the same time, relaxing your mouth and throat will give you more control over the tonality of your voice.
- Build character in your voice. Humming is an easy way to warm up your voice. The lower you go towards your chest, the more powerful you will sound. If you practice humming in deeper tones, you will create grains in your voice that will eventually give your voice a unique character.
- Never force your voice. Rest your voice if you find yourself overdoing yourself by speaking too much or too loudly. Sleep is the best remedy to cure a sore throat. When you have throat problems, cough gently when you need to clear your throat. Keep irritants like alcohol, smoke, and dairy to a minimum.
- Set the rhythm of your words. Quick speech is great if you are a commentator. If not, try breaking your thoughts into sentences, long enough that you can comfortably say them with a single exhale.
Create connection with the audience
- Look for friendly faces. If crowds make you nervous, look around the room for people who are smiling and making eye contact. Imagine that you are speaking directly to them.
- Tell a story that is right. It’s easier to get your message across when you use interesting and memorable stories. When you enjoy your own stories, your enthusiasm shines through and you can easily take your audience where you want to take them.
- Interact with the audience. Great speakers also know how to foster conversation among the audience. And once the conversation starts, they listen carefully to facilitate more interaction. Arriving early and interacting with the audience can generate a report and give you a great start before you even get up to speak.
- Share great content. As you work on the technical aspects of your voice and performance, keep your purpose in mind. What do you want to share with others? How can they benefit from what you have to say?
Additional tips for speaking dynamically
- Practice regularly. Voice training is like any other skill and it will take time and effort to develop. Work continuously to improve your performance. Sign in when you practice, so you can identify your natural strengths, as well as the areas you need to work on.
- Model popular speakers. See how presidents, news anchors, and TV presenters engage their listeners. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, and read transcripts. Take notes on the ideas you want to borrow and develop. Tailor your lessons to your own style.
- Avoid mindless fillers. Too many “ums” and “uhs” can undermine your credibility. Plan transitions so you don’t have to fumble for what to say next. If you need a second to reflect, try pausing instead of filling the void with nonsensical language. Turning off internal and external distractions can also help you stay on track.
- Be aware of your body language. Mastering non-verbal communication will reinforce the positive impression your voice makes. Stand up straight so that you look open and relaxed. Connect to the stage to make it appear safe. Use gestures to emphasize key points and keep things lively. Use all the space to move and speak, don’t get stuck at one point on the stage!
- Acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to feel. Even movie stars and self-help gurus can get stage frightened. When you feel eager to address a group, accept their feelings and transform them into positive enthusiasm. Take the focus off of yourself and focus on helping others.
Making the most of your own natural voice will help you communicate your ideas more effectively and efficiently. It will help you be the catalyst that transforms lives. But there is one more thing to remember before you begin. Keep your content short and simple! In the words of Winston S. Churchill, “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the topic and short enough to generate interest.”