Thursday, October 24, 2013

Your Goal May Be Public Speaking But Your Voice Is Your Calling Card

In order to improve your presentation skills, you research, you read, you listen, you watch speakers, you may even take a course in public speaking. Be it on the internet, in the boardroom, at a 1-day conference or your local community college, your goal is to learn as much as possible about honing your presentation skills. But what about your speaking voice? When you consider that your voice is the vehicle or the means by which you transport your message, how does your voice measure up to the rest of your delivery? And by that I mean the voice you hear on recording equipment – not the one you hear in your head. What does that voice say about you? Keeping your audience’s focus on you and not their iPhones takes a great delivery and a great message; however, if your voice is not especially appealing, you may not be able to hold their attention. When I started my voice business, the first professional speaker I heard was a young man who worked for Dale Carnegie. He was giving a full day seminar: I lasted but an hour listening to this man because his voice was so nasal I got a headache and had to leave. Some years later at a bootcamp in California, one of the speakers spoke so loudly that many of walked out of the auditorium because his strident voice over the loudspeakers hurt our ears. I’ve heard speakers who are soft-spoken, others who speak in a sing-song rhythm, and a surprising number who sound reminiscent of a Valley Girl. Of course there are some whose voices may be whiny, throaty, reedy, raspy, quivering, or even flat or monotone. With voice training you will not only find a richer, warmer, resonant sound, but you will also discover one of the best kept secrets for controlling your nervousness in any form of public speaking. Another benefit of this training is that your voice and energy level will last longer throughout your day because you will be less likely to experience vocal cord abuse. World-renowned speaker Anthony Robbins is suffering from severe vocal abuse because he did not have training in the beginning of his career. After years of pushing his voice too hard and too long, he is now paying the price. If your goal is to be a great public speaker, do not ignore your voice - it is your calling card and something you will rely on for the rest of your business and speaking career.

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