Presentations – do you love them, or hate them? Either way, they’re an essential part of our lives as we connect with our colleagues or customers online and it’s our constant challenge to excite interest and attention through our speech.
If you’ve ever wished you could speak more clearly, with more passion in your voice or with gravitas and sincerity, you can get help at Voice Synergy.
I’ve noticed over the years that even people with very senior positions can let down their organisation and disappoint their stakeholders by not engaging their voice effectively. If you’re not engaged with what you’re saying, your words can sound empty and hollow. You might have heard someone saying, “Thank you to the whole team and especially to our sponsors who have provided the finance for this project.” If this is said as words only, it sounds heartless and purely a function of speech. Instead of cheering and heartening the audience, it can sound bland and mechanical.
Using your voice when it’s connected to your thoughts and most importantly, with your emotions, can be very powerful. Harnessing the power of your voice can be achieved when you engage your imagination and allow yourself to connect with what you’re saying.
It’s easy to trot out ‘thank-yous’ but if you take a moment to really think and mean those words, how differently they can sound. Your listeners can feel a warmth towards you and your organisation; your sincerity can be heard in your voice and the beginnings of loyalty can be ignited.
How can you begin to be connected with your words? Firstly, write down a few sentences that you would like to say to your team. Let’s start with the ‘thank you’ speech. After you have written it, record it as naturally as possible, as you would normally speak.
Now take a moment to read your sentences again and find the words that might really stand out and reach people. Next, breathe in slowly and deeply, feeling the air flow into your lungs. When your lungs are full, begin your speech. Take your time and read a whole sentence fluently. Take a new breath for each new sentence.
You can practise this reading aloud of your speech with great effect. Always take time to breathe before you speak. Begin speaking when your lungs are full and your breath will enable you to speak a long sentence comfortably.
Next, find one or two words that you would really like to bring out in your sentence. Repeat the above exercise, but this time pause just before the key word. You can try several different methods to emphasise a word, like pausing just before and/or just after it. You can try lifting or lowering your voice on that word. There are many ways of varying your speech patterns to make your speech more colourful and interesting.
By trying out some of these vocal techniques, you will begin to hear that your voice is gaining in expression. This should help you feel more confident and empowered to try more vocal variations in your speech.
When you’re happy that your expression has improved, try recording your voice again and compare the first recording with the second and notice the two styles. You should be aware of a positive difference in the before and after speech styles and be encouraged by how much more engaged your voice sounds after trying out new vocal techniques.
If you take time and practise working with your voice, it can help you to connect better with your colleagues, your team and your stakeholders.
If you would like help with developing a more connected and relaxed way of speaking, please get in touch.