In my last post, we discussed how to get started in public speaking.
In today’s post on public speaking, figuring out your onstage persona can be a pretty difficult task. However, finding your authentic voice is achievable with a few tips and some practice. Public Speaking Books go into great detail on different techniques used by public speakers. Today, however, I’m sharing the number one technique you must master to be a great speaker.
So you have worked your butt off to make what you think is an amazing speech.
Then you look out into the crowd and you see, plain as day that they just aren’t into you. Like at all; some people have fallen asleep and others are wandering aimlessly out of the hall. Then there’s a flash of panic in your head this voice screaming, “What the F#%* did I do wrong?”
On Stage Public Speaking Fails Happen. Period.
It happens more often than you would think and to be truthful, you aren’t the only one that has that public speaking nightmare. Do you think I’m kidding? Go to a church on Sunday morning anywhere and you will see at least one head bobbing and maybe even some drool. Here’s the thing about that, preachers are taught public speaking skills from day one, and even they have a sleeper in the crowd now and then.
In many public situations, even when the speaker has decades of experience, they may still not know how to keep that audience awake. That is because there is a public speaking technique that if you learn it early, you will become one of the rare public speakers that routinely is considered to be “great” no matter what the quality of your material.
That public speaking technique is quite simply how you use your voice.
The voice is a marvelous tool. It has the power to express emotions, complex ideas, humor or outrage. And yet for some reason, many public speakers when they stand up to do a formal presentation lose 90% of the expression in their voices. Suddenly, we all start to sound like a boring math teacher droning on in a monotone even if the subject we are talking about is very interesting, human or emotional. You could talk about the day you fell in love or how to skydive but if you say it in a monotone, you’re going to put people to sleep.
You have a lot of vocal tones available to you that you naturally use when you speak person to person and you’re relaxed.
What causes speakers to switch to a monotone or a reduced amount of vocal tones when speaking formally starts with nervousness. You’re so focused on speaking clearly so you’re understood that you end up sounding like you’re reading the phone book. This is especially true if you have your entire speech written out and you’re reading it. The strange thing is you would never read like that to children. It’s strange we fall back to that style of speaking when talking to a group of adults.
Two great exercises can be used to help you get control over your vocal range as you speak.
It really isn’t something you want to think a lot about when you’re in front of people because then you will become self-conscious. But listen to other speakers and think about how they can improve their range of vocal tones. That will help you process your own range of expression.
Also, practice your presentation focusing on the ideas themselves but also on how you say them. Don’t be afraid to express emotions while speaking. If the subject is exciting, be excited. If it’s troubling, be troubled. Be a human in front of your audience and they will respond.
You can add a lot of variety to your presentation varying the volume with which you speak and the speed.
You don’t want to shout but when you speak softly at times and with more force at others, that sudden change of tone and volume can capture the ear of the audience and hold their attention. In a way, your focal presentation takes on elements of music as you use your voice as an instrument to make sure not only that the information is given to the audience but that they stay awake long enough to hear it.
I know this may seem pretty ridiculous but, the same voice that is used for singing is also used for professional speaking. Check out the Full Voice Workbook Series on Amazon.com to begin.
In the Next Post, we will be discussing how to write your speech.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.
Until Next Time,
Keep The Shiny Side Up,