How can I relax when I'm so nervous about speaking in front of a group? This is a question that I'm always asked. The solution begins with your realization that you must be relaxed physically and mentally focused to be in control of "un-stressing" yourself.
Muscle relaxation of the throat and neck frees the voice from tension and produces a fully resonant vocal tone. Whole body muscle relaxation will also support your physical alignment with your vocal sound.
Replacing your nerve-wracking thoughts to positive ones will reinforce your energy and competency quality in front of an audience.
Now that you know you must start with relaxation techniques, here are a few exercises that you can implement today so that it becomes automatic, and you don't have to worry about it anymore.
Take control to rid your stress level by following the above steps until you can pass it forward to help someone else who may be stressed like you used to be.
Way to go!
Brenda C. Smith, Founder of Voice Power Training Services [retired] and Author, is a personal speech coach who brings her expertise and experience as a lifelong drama director and teacher to guide your transformation into becoming a presenter with vocal power and presence. http://www.brendacsmith.com
Speaking with clarity is one of the many concerns that a presenter needs to be conscious of, whether you are doing a speech, presenting a proposal or sales prompt, or having an interview. Most speakers are able to enunciate each word very clearly; but many tend to mumble, speak too quickly, or lack any energy which clouds the overall clarity of your speech.
Here are three questions to ask yourself, and the reasons why they are important to your communication skills.
1. Have you looked at yourself speaking in a mirror? If not, do so right now and look at your mouth. A mouth that is barely open is blocking your vocal sound from exiting your mouth so that your listener wouldn't be able to hear you clearly or loudly. It's as if you have put a lock on your door; in this case, it's your mouth, and you only opened it just enough to see who's knocking at your door. What are you afraid of when it comes to opening your mouth wider? I'm sure no one is going to see past your teeth to the back of your throat and down into your larynx.
Go ahead and give your jaw some exercises. Open your mouth wide, drop your chin and jaw to allow your sound out of the doorway to your speech. This allows you to stretch your lips, mouth, jaw, and tongue to be flexible, so that your words become exact and definitely, crystal clear for the listener.
To remedy this, you will have to make a conscious effort to slow down so your listeners can keep up with you, or you will have to exaggerate the enunciation of your initial and final consonant sounds.
For practice and to loosen your lips, simply repeat a tongue twister very carefully and deliberate; not too quickly. Here are a couple of my favourite tongue twisters:
3. Have you ever felt tired or bored with the whole process of speaking out? If you are not totally focused and into your topic, you will sound boring and that will make your audience bored too. Before you deliver your next presentation, think of it as if you are approaching a marathon race with all the excitement at the start line, and everyone cheering you on your way. You are motivated to show that you can do this; you are energized! Your mind can make or break the flow of your speech; so keep your motor running and enjoy the energy to surge you forward.
After your speech is all done, you can take credit for being the factor of making it the best speech you've done so far. Your speech receives your mental signal to be energized. You also get the feedback of delivering a satisfactory speech to be proud of.
It only takes a moment to get yourself in shape for your next presentation. So, go look in the mirror, record yourself, and mind-direct your energy to positive results; and you will have an amazing speech.
There are two available self-help guides written by Voice Coach, Brenda C. Smith that will lead you through the exercises to help remedy your challenges.
How long does it usually take to achieve improvement in voice quality?
This question was asked to me, so I thought I would post my answer for anyone else who may want to know.
Of course, the first answer is that it will depend on how much improvement is needed or wanted to begin with. If it is something that requires focusing to apply your breath support from the diaphragm, that can change the same day you begin to use it, and you can maintain that forever if you consciously apply it. This is similar to other problems of mumbling or speaking too quickly.
However, if a person has a nasal tone for example, originating from childhood, this is a habit that has to be re-trained so it will take longer to replace the former tone- an average of three months will usually make it ingrained as the new habit.
If the person has an actual physical or medical cause for the voice or speech sounds then a medical professional specializing in that, a speech pathologist would need to be consulted. Next, a speech coach can then work with that person.
The quality of sound and tone can have different applications whether it is speaking with a microphone or speaking live, in front of small or large groups. The quality of tone can also be perceived differently by a number of people – what you or I might think is a great tone, someone else may prefer something fuller, softer, lower; as there is no perfect voice.
The key to all of the above is to do a good initial assessment of the person wanting to improve and then address those issues effectively.
The quick answer is that improving the sound of the voice can be achieved by applying targeted vocal exercises, and keeping the voice fit and healthy, and using warm-ups regularly. This can be maintained over your lifetime.
There is a personal self-assessment checklist in "Breathe..Just Steps to Breathtaking Speeches" before you start the exercises that would address your needs.
Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section below or contact me directly.
Has this ever happened to you?
You’ve prepared your speech, power point, and your presentation or your webinar, and you’re all set to go; but suddenly as you open your mouth to speak, you hear your voice crack; then you need to cough to try to regain some sort of composure and vocal strength. This totally throws you off and you spend most of the presentation sipping on water, racing through your speech, losing your breath and focus, while struggling through to finish.
The most likely reason for this happening is because you chose not to spend very much attention to the health and maintenance of your voice, which just happens to be the single most important instrument that you are using to convey your message or to make your business sale. The next time you prepare and rehearse your speech, also take time to warm-up your voice, and do it again just before you are about to speak.
Begin your warm-up with a relaxation exercise to release any muscle tension in your body. Stretch in all directions and loosen your shoulder, neck, and jaw muscles. Start at the top of the head and mentally work down to your toes to focus your mind on releasing any tightness that you feel.
Next, consciously let yourself use your diaphragm to control your breathing force. Warm-up your tone by humming so that the sound is resonated in your chest, pharynx, and mouth areas. Try letting the sounds, such as “AH” escape through an open mouth. Find your most comfortable pitch level, so you can control your pitch to avoid unexpected squeaks or tension creeping up on your sound.
Keeping voice fit includes avoiding drinks with caffeine, dairy products, or alcohol to avoid your vocal folds from drying out. They will adjust to how you as a speaker treat them. If you abuse them with unhealthy foods or with physical abuse, such as, yelling, shouting, and smoking; then they respond by protecting themselves and shutting down. The cure to revive them is complete rest and lots of water.
For the few minutes that it takes to do a vocal warm-up, it is certainly worth keeping your own health, and avoiding embarrassment when you do your next speech.
For a Vocal Warmup CLICK HERE
Has this ever happened to you?
No matter what age group you are in when you try to communicate your ideas orally no one seems to be listening to you. Here are three common scenarios.
You could be speaking at a low volume, mumbling while talking, speaking too rapidly, not projecting energetically enough, or sounding bored or tired. There is the off chance that they may not be interested in what you have to say.
Give yourself a quick Speech Checkup: stand in front of a mirror and speak to yourself as if you are talking to a friend about your day so far. While you are describing your details look at your mouth to determine if it is open as wide as the width of your thumb, and if your lips are barely moving or are they animated. That would be the first clue to the cause of people not being able to hear you.
Flexible mouth muscles will allow you to articulate your words clearly. Lazy mouth muscles: lips, tongue, teeth, and jaw cloud the sound and block it from exiting your mouth. Practice a few tongue twisters, such as, “The wagon wobbled wildly and widely,” to loosen up your speech muscles. Face the mirror while saying it so you can stretch your lips and drop your jaw. Do this exercise three times every morning and again throughout your day. Transition to exaggerating your mouth movements with a wider mouth as you speak normally.
As far as speaking too quickly, you can start resetting your pace to be slower by consciously being aware to take your time, so your words are not all rushed together; and your listener misses most of what you are saying.
If you use diaphragmatic breathing as your engine to your voice sound, then you can have more energy, and project or aim your sound beyond your listeners’ ears so that everyone hears you immediately and pays attention. No other breathing technique works as well for voice projection and variety in tone.
With a few speech and voice techniques you can overcome any scenario that tunes out your listeners. Instead, your next encounter will be heard with crystal clarity and interest. You will no longer feel left-out or feel like screaming!
Your message will be understood as you speak calmly and confidently. Give your speech muscles a workout to achieve a voice power makeover.
You’ll find more speech techniques, exercises, and warm-ups in our recommended book: “Breathe…Just Steps to Breathtaking Steps” on Amazon and FriesenPress written by Author, Brenda C. Smith, Speech and Drama Coach
Ask Alexa Skill " Alexa Open Speak Clearly Warmups".
Brenda C. Smith