5 factors that influence your voice during a speech Our voice 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 training to sound more confident. 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:
Clear message. If you have a clear picture of what it is you are going to say, your voice will sound much stronger. 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 your voice across a room like an actor would. Projection 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.
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 changes. → 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. 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 words exactly. → 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 are sitting upright as if you were standing. You can actually already practice your speech the way you are going to deliver it. If you know you will stand – practice it standing up. If you know you will sit, practice it sitting down. Either way, it is best to pull your shoulders back, sit or stand 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.
Were these tips useful to you? Have you tried any of them and did it change your voice? I would love to know!
You can download my free sensational public speaking guide here, if you want more tips for your voice and speaking.
I wish you a lot of success and fun with your next presentation!