I was yesterday asked, "What can I do to improve my voice and speech in time for my presentation next week?" I have three suggestions. You can decide which exercise to go for depending on which aspect you want to improve. If in doubt, practise all three.
You absolutely should start with the breathing and vocalising as described in Warm up your Voice: Part 1 and Part 2 . You can then add one or more of the following exercises:
- Is your voice weak, soft, breathy or tending to fade before your thought is completely voiced? You need to co-ordinate thinking, breathing and speaking by practising this counting exercise:
Imagine yourself simply and calmly saying the word ONE, then inhale and speak “ONE”
Imagine yourself saying the words, then inhale, speak “ONE TWO” on one breath
Imagine, inhale, speak “ONE TWO THREE” on one breath
Continue adding the word for one more number at a time. Practise once or twice a day until you are comfortable speaking each of the numbers from one to ten calmly and clearly on one breath. If it helps you, you can choose an object in the space about two metres away from you and project your words to this object.
- Is your articulation of consonant sounds slow or imprecise? You need to practise these sentences to reduce mumbling and gain crisp articulation. Allow your lips, teeth and tongue to move freely to form the sounds, keep your jaw relaxed. Don’t strain or shout, the pace is steady and careful. These sentences have proved to be really helpful for improving confidence and competence in articulating English if that is what you need.
Pass the pens and pencils please
A packet of mixed biscuits
Packing prickly pickles poses problems
She sells sea shells on the sea shore
Six times six is thirty six
Bring me some coffee in a proper copper coffee pot
What a lot of little bottles
Quick! Quick! Quick! Bring the twins a drink!
Red leather [lorry] [lolly], yellow leather [lorry] [lolly]
Fred refused to view his defeat as final
Leave the lazy lion alone
The pilot landed the plane safely
- Are you unused to hearing and feeling your own voice as you speak? Simply practise humming, "HUMMMMMMM". With a relaxed throat and shoulders, and without strain, try humming more softly, more loudly by using more volume of air, sending your sound further, then nearer, humming at a higher pitch, at a lower pitch. In other words, playing with your sound. This will also help you sound more audible, expressive and interesting.
Good luck with your next presentation or speech
To make an appointment for voice coaching or to book a workshop please go to my website