Presentation Skills: How to Project Your Voice & Convey Authority
(Article adapted from a session of my recorded course: Virtual Presentations: How to Develop & Deliver an Effective Presentation Over the Phone)
Someone in a recent presentation skills workshop asked, “How do I project my voice and also, convey authority?”
It's a great question because your voice is an important part of your presentation and should communicate that you’re confident, knowledgeable and engaging. Here are 7 ways to project authority using your voice during a presentation:
In order to project your voice, breathing is crucial. The more that you can breathe deeply and support the breath from your core and diaphragm -- as opposed to taking shallow breaths from your chest - the more you can support your voice and project it.
2) Don’t shout
Shouting can offend your audience and leave you with a sore throat, laryngitis or vocal cord damage. Projecting your voice means supporting it with breath from your diaphragm and core so that your voice sounds strong and supported rather than high-pitched and breathy.
3) Use a microphone
Used correctly, a microphone make it easier for the audience to hear and understand you, even while you are speaking at your normal volume. Practice using it so you will be comfortable with it in front of an audience.
And if you're presenting virtually, your laptop's microphone may not be good enough to help your voice sound clear and focused (without a lot of background noise or echo). Consider investing in an external microphone for better sound quality.
4) If presenting over the phone, avoid the speakerphone
A speakerphone will pick up all the background noise in the room and make it harder for the audience to hear you clearly. Use a headset or hand-held phone rather than a speakerphone, if possible, so it can easily pick up your voice without you having to shout.
5) Stand up
If you stand up, you automatically have better posture and it’s easier to breathe fully and project your voice. You sound more awake and energized and are less likely to slouch and cut off your air supply.
If you're presenting virtually via video and you normally sit, use an adjustable standing desk, elevated desktop or monitor arm to make it easier to transition your setup temporarily from sitting to standing.
6) Eliminate “ums” and “ahs”
If you have a lot of “ums,” “ahs” and pause words, you don’t sound authoritative – you sound tentative and unsure. Eliminating those pause words will help you sound like you know what you’re talking about.
7) Avoid “uptalk”
“Uptalk” is when you voice goes up at the end of every sentence, so every sentence sounds like a question, as in, “Welcome? My name is Beth? I will present the third-quarter results to you?” Uptalk makes you sound hesitant and timid. Be mindful of how you speak, and particularly how you end sentences. End with your voice pitch staying the same or going down slightly, so the audience knows you are making a statement rather than asking a question.
If you follow these 7 tips, you will be able to use your voice to project authority so your audience will listen to what you have to say.
Today's article was adapted from a session of my recorded course: Virtual Presentations: How to Develop and Deliver an Effective Presentation Over the Phone.
The Virtual Presentations course consists of 3 previously recorded, content-rich sessions of 45-55 minutes each - you receive both the mp3 recording and the written PDF transcript for each session.
The regular fee is $397, but I am offering it to you free of charge - no opt-in or log-in required, as my gift to support you during this crisis.