Archive for category Public Speaking Tips
Winter’s cold, changing weather and dry indoor climates can put a lot of stress on your body, especially the respiratory system and your voice. Here are five easy ways to care for your voice this winter:
- Drink lots of fluid, especially water
- Use a humidifier
- Stay away from caffeine and alcohol if you have to speak, as they dehydrate
- Avoid milk products and chocolate, as they can lead to mucous congestion
- Suck on hard candy for added moisture
Everyone’s system is different, so know how you react to different foods and environmental conditions.
How do you protect your voice in the winter? Please feel free to share any tips or hints below.
Our new class at the 92Y begins next week, just in time for Halloween. Learn more about our course offerings, find new ways to stay in touch, and get more information on private one-on-one and small group sessions here.
If you’re a public speaker or a singer like I am, beware. These ice cold refreshers triggered some of the nastiest asthma and allergy attacks I’ve had, leading to extensive mucous in my throat, constant attempts at throat clearing, and finally triggering irritative laryngitis or reflux laryngitis (when gastric acid backs up into the larynx, pharynx, and esophagus).
I admit it: I may be hyper-sensitive. Anything mucous-producing, from alcohol to milk products, chocolate, and even red meat, can set off an allergic attack.
Years ago, when I was doing some professional singing, I went to a noted otolaryngologist who was THE go-to doctor for opera and theater legends, from pop singers to opera divas. His first piece of advice: avoid red wine, milk products and chocolate. My own voice teachers were also telling me to avoid very hot or very cold drinks, instead sticking to room temperature or warm beverages.
Only years later, after researching and consulting doctors, did I learn that cold can trigger an allergic reaction leading to reflux, and, just as cold weather can trigger an asthma attack, so can drinking or eating something cold. In short, it’s a shock to your vocal chords.
Now that I know the culprit, I’m careful about assaulting my throat with very cold foods or beverages. And when symptoms flare, I head for my asthma inhaler and an antihistimine-decongestant. No more popsicles for me!
Photos courtesy of Kristin Resurreccion and Sergio Feria via Flickr.
Many of us are faced with the same situation. You have to give a speech or presentation on a subject that is inherently dull. How can you add interest and excitement?
Here are five ways to spruce up a dull presentation:
- Change the pitch and dynamics of your voice to add variety to your sound. Speak higher and lower, louder and softer.
- Vary your rhythm. Decide when to slow down or speed up.
- Add emphasis and strategic pauses. For suspense or questions, pauses work well.
- Use anecdotes. Explain your points with a personalized story.
- Involve the audience. Ask rhetorical questions.
These hints are sure to add variety and punch to your presentation.
Do you have any thoughts to share?
I recently attended a master class for young opera singers with famed singer Martina Arroyo, at Hunter College in New York City. Ms. Arroyo constantly stressed the importance of knowing who the character is, the motive behind actions, where the action takes place, and more. She also focused on the importance of being prepared and immersed in the moment before you get up on stage.
What does this have to do with public speaking? Just like a good performer, a public speaker needs to have stage presence. Know the context of your presentation. Think about your words, what you want to convey, and how you want to move your audience. Have a sense of yourself, who you are and why you’re up on that stage, whether it’s an interview, a panel or PowerPoint presentation, or a speech to a large or small audience.
Our “Techniques for Effective Public Speaking” can help you translate the qualities of a great performer into a great presentation of your own. For more information contact us or visit www.publicspeaking4u.com.
To be a better speaker, resolve to:
- Prepare and rehearse your presentation in advance
- Keep your message to three main points
- Be a good listener, especially in Q & A sessions
- ALWAYS repeat an audience question before answering it
- Remember to breathe; it will help you relax
What are your speaking resolutions for the year?
What should you know?
There is nothing more dull than a poor Power Point presentation. So, here are some hints on how to liven up your presentation.
First, ask yourself about the audience. Here are some questions I posed myself for a recent client presentation in front of an audience of about 100 people:
What do I know about the audience?
- Why is the audience there? This audience was participating in an annual meeting, so some members were more vested in what I had to report than others.
- What is your purpose? Mine was to demonstrate the value of my public relations program.
- Are you part of a larger program or the main attraction? My presentation was part of an overall meeting with other presenters preceding and following mine.
Given the above, I knew that I had to make my presentation engaging as well as informative.
- Grab audience attention by starting with a video clip of a news interview showing the client. The combination audio/visual speaks action.
- Build suspense. Rather than start at the beginning of the report , I used an excerpt and said, “We’ll tell you more about it later.” This creates a sense of anticipation
- Spice up the slides with visuals and colorful charts. There were a lot of statistics to report. To add interest, I used visuals and colorful charts.
- Minimize slide content. To keep the pace moving, I limited the text on each page.
At Kundell Communications we work with people to improve their presentation skills in individualized sessions or group classes. To learn more, visit www.publicspeaking4u.com
At a recent performance of “A Little Night Music” on Broadway, one of the leads, Catherine Zeta-Jones, had to cancel due to a bad throat. I found that interesting, as I’ve worked with actors and noticed – especially nowadays with Broadway performers being amplified – that many actors don’t support their voices. Consequently, they may develop laryngitis or a raw throat and have to cancel a performance.
I often emphasize the importance of correct breathing as a key to vocal stamina and to help protect your voice and throat. Here are other hints that will help before a presentation.
- Make sure you have plenty of rest. Speaking, like acting, singing or dancing, is physical, and you need energy to support your voice.
- Keep your throat moist and “well oiled,” especially in air-conditioned rooms and in dry, winter air. Avoid alcohol, and drink plenty of water. Hard, sucking candies are also good.
- Be sure you are breathing from your diaphragm or belly, thus supporting your voice.
- At all costs, avoid yelling, which is very hard on your vocal cords.
As a public speaker, it’s important to know that you too will make mistakes,. Don’t focus on them. Just dust yourself off, and go on. Who knows how many heights you may conquer if you persevere!