Many of my accent reduction clients tell me that their accent gets worse when they feel nervous.
Even my clients who have made huge improvements with their spoken English tell me that they speak too quickly, become hoarse or stumble over their words when they are nervous.
So what can you do to prepare for “high stakes” speaking situations such as meetings, phone call and key negotiations?
Here are three easy to implement ideas.
When people have to speak in front of a group, (or even at a virtual meeting) they often become so nervous that they forget to breathe properly. Lack of proper breath will not support a nice strong voice.
When you feel nervous while speaking in “high stakes” situations be sure to take some deep breaths. This will both calm you down and give you the air you need to support your best voice.
2. Warm Up Your Voice
There are some easy exercises that you can do to warm up your voice before speaking. These warm ups will make your voice sound strong, help you focus your energy and calm yourself down.
One exercise is to hum. Hmmmmmm… feel the vibration in the facial mask area between your mouth & nose. Humming will warm up your vocal chords and bring a nice resonance to your voice.
Breathe & hummmmm!
You can even hum up and down the musical scale a couple of times. Just be sure to breath from your diaphragm as you do this.
3. Lip flutters
I first read about lip flutters in Susan Berkley’s book, Speak to Influence. Then my voice teacher recommended that I do these to warm up my vocal chords before my Skype calls (sometimes I sound a bit froggy).
To do lip flutters, purse your lips together and push the air through. Try to push the air from your diaphragm, not from your mouth.
I love doing this vocal warm up before I speak with people… but my cat really hates it!
Once I started to do breathing, humming and lip flutters before my Skype coaching sessions, my voice sounded stronger and clearer. This in turn made me feel more confident and relaxed.
Try to warm up and calm down with these three easy voice tips next time you have an important talk, meeting or presentation. They are sure to help you sound more clear and confident when you speak.
As I often tell my clients, speaking with a slower pace and rich tones will make you sound more confident and in control.
Speaking with a high speedy voice will make you sound hurried and nervous. You don’t want to sound like that!