How to Present: 10 Tips to Improve Your Elocution
Imagine the following situation: you have prepared a great PowerPoint presentation, your beamer is working smoothly and your microphone and laptop have been sound-checked leaving you perfectly prepared for your presentation. But then, as soon as you start speaking, you forget what you had planned to say, you begin to stutter and your voice sounds shrill. Your voice, as the vocal carrier of your message, is just as important as all of the other components of your presentation. It can create sympathy or dislike in your listeners and can emotionally touch, bore or inspire them.
With the right elocution you not only become more rhetorically competent, but you will also be able to fulfill the goals that you have set for your presentation.
These 10 tips will help you with your elocution:
- Drink sufficiently. Drink sparkling water or tea (no fruit tea!) to adequately moisten your vocal chords.
- Be rested. Try not to spend the evening before your presentation in noisy, smoky bars so that your vocal chords are not burdened.
- Stand straight and keep your body weight balanced on both feet. Try to keep your shoulders back so that your chest stands out – giving your vocal chords more volume when speaking.
- Inhale deeply into your diaphragm and exhale. Try to exhale for 5-10 counts and then inhale before your next sentence. This will make you feel calmer – giving you enough oxygen to speak even long sentences without inhaling in between.
- Develop vocal resonance out of your chest. Try to keep a lower register in your tone of voice. Generally a lower pitch is more pleasant to the ear.
- Record your presentation and pay special attention to the sound of your voice and its intonation. Where could you improve? When do you sound confident and when self-conscious?
- Speak slowly without any rush: Take a deep breath after each sentence and use the break to focus and think of your next words.
- Check how fast you speak. Nothing is worse than hastily rattling down your presentation. It is important to not only be heard but also to be understood. So try to speak a little slower than you might normally speak when conversing.
- Speak clearly: A fun way to train how to speak clearly is to practice tongue twisters. When doing this, pronounce your words as clearly as possible.
- Say „Hmmmmmm.“ Find your personal voice volume by repeating a humming tone right after each sentence (of course only when practicing). This way you will find a pitch which is deep and confident.
photo: © Andres Rodriguez / Fotolia.com