5 factors that influence your voice during a speech
doesn't work independently from our minds. Having good
control over your voice
can help you be better prepared
for public speaking, but you don't have
to have years of voice
There are things you can control,
that indirectly influence your voice
and can help you deliver a great speech
or presentation. Want to know what these
factors are? Here you go:
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- Clear message. If you have a clear picture of
what it is you are going to say, your voice
If you are not completely sure what to include in your speech, you will
hold back and put less energy
into your voice.
Maybe you have heard of the term voice projection.
It's when you project
across a room like an actor
works best, when you are very clear in your mind which words
will come out of your mouth. When you are not sure, you also
cannot project it.
For public speaking
this is very useful as you want your audience
to hear what you are saying and exude confidence
while you speak.
→ Action: have a clear
message in your presentation or speech.
Spend some time on figuring it out before you prepare your presentation.
This way you will be clear on what message
you want to give. You can also read my blogpost “How to have a clear message”
to help you.
- Knowing what to emphasize.
So now you have worked on your message
and are very clear on what you want your audience to
focus on. That's great! In order to make sure your audience focuses
on the right things, though you can emphasize
all the keywords. If you have for example the sentence: “We
would like to take this project
to the next level” - you could emphasize we,
like, take, project,
next or level and come up with a slightly different message each
time. Try it out. Emphasize
one of the words each time you read the sentence out loud and
see how the message
→ Action: make sure you emphasize
the right words. In your preparation work,
spend some time on underlining the words you would like to emphasize.
You can give more weight to a word by either pausing before or
after the word, slowing down or going higher in pitch.
- Knowing what comes next.
In my last blog post I wrote about the importance of rehearsing (so I
definitely recommend you to read it, if you are not convinced of
the benefits of rehearsing).
This point is linked to point 1 and 2. It's good to have a clear message
and to know what to emphasize,
but it's even better to have rehearsed it and know what comes
next in the flow of your presentation.
You cannot really give your
voice your full energy,
if you still have to think about how you are going to put your
→ Action: once you are clear
about the message and what to emphasize,
practice your speech or presentation.
When you know what comes next you can project
your voice with more energy.
- Knowing your audience.
I know that this can be tricky as we cannot always know
who is sitting in front of us. When we don't know who is
listening to us and what they do or don't know, it can make us
hold back. It can make us speak
with less conviction because we are unsure about what people are
actually interested in. This has a direct effect on our voice. We will
sound less sure of our topic and maybe speak
with an invisible question mark at the end of our sentences.
Luckily there are ways you can at least find out part of it. It
will give you so much more confidence,
knowing what your audience
wants to hear.
→ Action: if you're not sure
who your audience is and/or what they
already know, see if there is a way you can find out. Can you
ask someone? Can you send an e-mail with a questionnaire
directly to your future listeners? Can you
guess or assume what they already know? Find out as much as
you possibly can.
- Standing or
Sitting. Maybe you have already
experienced how it is to stand in front of people, and what it
is like to sit in front of an audience
and give a speech.
Of course sitting is slightly less daunting and might be your
preferred choice. The voice
can develop best though when you are standing.
If you are sitting
– and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it – make sure you
upright as if you were standing.
You can actually already practice
the way you are going to deliver it. If you know you will stand – practice
up. If you know you will sit, practice it sitting
down. Either way, it is best to pull your shoulders back, sit or
up straight, make sure you are taking a confident
posture – this will also make your voice sound stronger.
→ Action: practice your speech
or presentation standing
up and/or sitting down – see whether it
makes a difference. If you are sure you want or have to sit,
practice it sitting up straight, with a strong
posture as if you were standing.