Warming up your voice before a presentation is not high on the list of priorities according to the clients I work with. They often look at me as if I have gone mad. “Isn’t that for the actors and singers?” is often the response. Well yes, actors and singers certainly warm their voices up before they step into the rehearsal room or out onto the stage because they know the importance of it. If you are going to do something that is vocally demanding, which a presentation often is, then you need to warm up your voice.
A lack of vocal warm up can add to the feeling of being nervous. Your voice may start jumping all over the place and your vocal control will go out the window. You may fall into the habit of ‘upspeak’ where the voice goes up at the end of a statement making everything you say sound like a question.
You can prevent and be in control of a number of presentation slip ups if you take just 10 minutes or so to warm up the voice.
Here are a few quick and easy ideas for you:
Yes it might sound obvious but if you are someone who is sat at a computer screen for the majority of the day then you are likely to have scrunched up shoulders, bad posture and a tight jaw. None of these are any good for breathing properly.
Lie on the floor and breathe deeply and naturally. Sounds simple and it is! Give your jaw a massage and relax.
This is as simple as humming. Keep your mouth relaxed, making sure your teeth is slightly apart with your lips together. As you begin to hum gently allow yourself to move the sound through the body. Ok this might sound a little ‘actory’ but I can assure you that by having an awareness of where the voice is will help you create a beautifully resonant sound.
That’s right, stretch. Open up your ribs by stretching over to each side. Your voice radiates from your lungs so give them a good stretch. Reach up over your head and then down to the floor. Waking up your whole body will get the blood pumping and the energy flowing.
Warming up the speech organs can do wonders for preventing the stumbling over words scenario, or getting tongue tied when we go to say something.
Actors have to have enormous freedom and dexterity in the muscles of articulation in order to speak clearly, and this can be the case of facilitators and presenters too.
An “articulation workout” where you use all the muscles involved in projecting your voice is absolutely key to getting the dexterity you need.