Preparing for a speech requires not just practising what you are going to say, but also giving yourself the best chance of saying it well.
Preparing your voice, like a singer or actor, will help to bring clarity to your speech.
There are a number of ways to train and strengthen your voice, which will in turn help you to keep on top of your nerves and give a good performance.
There are four areas which affect your voice and speech:
- Breathing – your breath provides fuel for speaking
- Throat – where your voice box is located
- Mouth – your lip and tongue muscles help you form and shape words
- Mind and body – the influence and impact of positive thinking
Breathing exercises will help you to fill your lungs and work your diaphragm, calming your nerves at the same time. Relaxing your mouth muscles will make them more flexible and help to keep your voice clear.
Rest and relaxation
Sufficient sleep will help your body to support your voice effectively. If you are tired, it is likely that you will not be able to perform at your best.
Sleep deprivation can affect the spontaneous generation of words and appropriate intonation, making your speech sound monotonous and flattened.
Employing relaxation techniques such as visualisation, can also help to reduce the effect of stress on your vocals.
Being hydrated will help you to perform at your peak. Room temperature or warm water works best.
Avoid dehydrating beverages such as alcohol and soft drinks.
Warming up and exercise
Warming up and exercising your body with the voice in mind can help to improve vocal capacity and production, thereby reducing the chance of straining your vocal chords on or before the big day.
Using warm-up techniques before you are due to give a speech will give you the best chance of delivering a winning performance.
Similarly, training your speaking voice and the muscles connected to voice production will also aid you in preparing for that all-important speech.
Just as an athlete must train for events and performances, taking care of and optimising your voice and body is an important part of any speaking event.
How do you prepare your voice for public speaking events?