Many of you are speaking in public on a regular basis, but how many of you know how to look after your voice? I work with many people who find that after even a short presentation their voice feels tired or strained. Here are a few things you can do to make a difference to your public speaking.
- Warm up!
Just a few minutes is all it takes to warm up your voice. Some soft humming in the shower or in the car on the way to work will get the resonators going. Open the hum up to a sound, so MMMM…MAAA, MMMM…MOOO, MMMM…..MEEE. Really think about where you can feel the resonance or vibration. It might be around the lips, across the nose and nasal cavities or the throat. Play around with the notes too. Go up and down your range- low notes and high notes and notice the differences.
The speech organs also need waking up. Think about those tongue twisters you learnt as a child- Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers…..These are great for making the organs of articulation more agile. This is turn will prevent the tripping or stumbling over words.
- No Dairy!
People are often surprised by this one, but any type of dairy product can clog you up with phlegm, which you certainly don’t want when you are presenting. It can cause real problems for people, and can be incredibly distracting for the audience!
- Drink plenty of water!
I’m sure you know how important it is to drink plenty of water, but sipping water before, during and after your speech will not only keep you hydrated, but it will also keep the vocal chords nicely lubricated. It will also help with the feeling of a dry mouth and throat and can prevent that annoying cough making an unwelcomed appearance.