Quick Speaking Tips

Dr. Susan Miller

 

"Public speaking training is not eliminating the butterflies, it is getting them to fly in formation."                          Toastmasters International

 

It is true that our physical size dictates the length and mass of our vocal folds, thus defining the boundaries of our pitch. However, the resonance of our voice and our diction, stance, gestures and messages are modified easily with training.

 

6 Tips to Get You Started Speaking Confidently

1. Use your body as a tool to present and speak with impact.

Use assertive posture, unambiguous eye contact, affirming gestures, and engaging facial expressions to captivate your audience. Walk and sit as if a kite string is pulling your chest forward.

2. Use the tone of your voice to create a compelling message.

Let your voice resonate by allowing space between your teeth as you speak, forming the vowel sounds, and moving your lower jaw smoothly as you speak. Don’t clench your jaw or hold your breath especially when asked a difficult question.

3. Use your volume for emphasis.

Vary your loudness and softness to emphasize your points. Relax your throat and use more breath when you speak louder to avoid a shrill, nasal tone.

4. Relax your breathing before you walk on stage and in between questions.

Breathe through your nose, keeping your molars slightly apart with your lips closed, and the tip of your tongue lightly behind your upper and lower front teeth. The perfect amount of air will come in. Inhaling a large breath before you speak makes your vocal folds and throat tight.

5. Warm up your voice before speaking.

Sing or hum throughout the day to keep your voice physically fit. Repeat tongue twisters such as ‘red leather-yellow leather’ or ‘eleven benevolent elephants’ to relax your tongue and lips. Bite the tip of your tongue with your back teeth if your mouth gets dry!

6. Keep your voice healthy.

Drink water before and after caffeinated beverages and avoid drinking coffee, tea or colas on airplane flights to keep your voice hydrated. Eat 3 hours before sleeping and avoid mints, nuts and fatty foods which may cause heartburn and hoarseness. Frequent use of aspirin products may cause a vocal hemorrhage so use Tylenol instead.