Remember, your message may be very interesting, but a major part of getting it across is how you present it.

Think of a time when something exciting or exasperating happened. Or maybe you went on a good holiday, or participated in an activity that really made you want to tell your friends and family about it.

Remember how you described the event/s? You probably used all the elements of colour and expressiveness when you spoke and you ‘knew your material’- that is you knew your topic well because you had just had the experience.

You didn’t focus on nervousness or whether they would listen, you focused on wanting to share something with the people or person you were speaking to.

Bring these expressive elements to your presentations also.

Voice Training -INFLECTION– you used pitch changes as you spoke. Sometimes you would have been excited and gone up in pitch, and come down in pitch to match the emotion with what you were saying.

Voice Training-VOLUME– you would have emphasised certain things by changing volume and become louder or more quiet at times.

Voice Training- LENGTH– you may have made some sounds longer or shorter for emphasis. For example ‘yes’ with the ‘e’ elongated has a different colour and meaning to a short, sharply said ‘yes’.

Voice Training-PAUSING– You may have paused a little longer before or after saying something, to make sure your listener was paying attention, and to emphasise the point. Pauses can be very effective in building expectation and attention.

GESTURE – You would have used hand gestures, head gestures and body movement to accompany your content. This keeps flow and movement and helps keep people’s attention. Don’t overdo the movement though so that it ditracts from what you are saying.

Don’t forget that when you move while presenting to a group of people it not only relaxes you, but also allows your audience to relax and listen better. You may walk from one side to the other of the ‘stage’ or room. You may only move a little from where you originally stood, and this coupled with gesture keeps your listeners more engaged.

Tip: be careful not to flop or drop your arms down by the sides of your body at the end of a sentence as this will cause your words to lose energy. You can place them consciously by your sides, but don’t drop or flop them carelessly.

If you have a lectern or desk in front of you, you can rest your hands on it and then move your hands from there to gesture. Keeping your hand up also keeps the energy of your presentation up.

FACIAL EXPRESSION– you would have used appropriate facial expressions to help convey your message.

Don’t forget that 80% of what we communicate is communicated through our non-verbal language – body, hands and face. So it’s good to be expressive with your face where appropriate.

EYE CONTACT– you looked at your listener fairly frequently to see what reaction your words were having on them, to see if they were still listening and most importantly, to stay connected with them.

KNOW YOUR MATERIAL– the fact that you knew your topic well, allowed you to be free to expressive yourself easily and not be nervous about what you were going to say. It also gave you confidence and this came across to your listener.

You could practise these elements while saying your speech in front of a mirror so you can give yourself feedback.

Don’t forget that English listeners listen for the emphasised or stressed words in sentences, so emphasise the words that convey the main meaning you want to get across.

Make sure you have fun also!

For more information on voice training click here.

Best wishes, Esther

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