Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking….some useful tips

Some of us are natural public speakers, many more of us are not. When we’re nervous, this can affect how we speak, as we stumble over words or struggle with a weak voice. If you fall into this category, then here are a couple of tips which can help you feel more at ease, and help your voice to carry without strain.
  1. Notice your posture: When we’re at ease, we have an ‘open’ posture.
  2. Tune into and accept feelings within your body: Instead of pushing away or ignoring butterflies in your stomach or the tightness in shoulders, tune into these feelings, and accept them. Use self talk, ‘I notice the butterflies in my stomach…that’s OK.’  When you do this, you put yourself in control, and reduce feelings of panic/stress.
  3. Speak slower than you normally do. When I ask people to do this, they often feel that they’re speaking extremely slowly, and it’s only when they listen back to themselves that they realise that in fact it wasn’t that slow at all.
  4. Pause frequently: When you pause, you give the listener more time to take in and reflect upon what you have said.
  5. Speak with more effort: Speak in an over-energised way, with more animation than you would do typically.  You may feel that you sound like a children’s TV presenter…perfect, that’s just the sort of energy you need…just don’t jump around too much!
  6. Increase the tune in your voice: Again, speak like a kid’s TV presenter! Use more tune or intonation in your voice than you would do usually. This draws the listener into what you are saying and keeps them interested.
  7. Use visualisation: Picture a situation in which you feel at ease and relaxed. Imagine what it feels like throughout your body. Practice doing this frequently, so that you can recreate that feeling. You can then use this body awareness to help you feel confident and at ease, even when you don’t. This is called ‘acting as if’ confident.

For more practical tips and exercises to help your speaking or singing voice, come along to one of my voice workshops in Cork and Clonakilty, or come for a one to one coaching session. Contact me to find out more.

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