You’re gearing up for a pitch with a million things on your mind. You’ve run through your script word-for-word. You know what you want to say and doing mighty well to balance the nerves before showtime. You’ve taken on board notes of public speaking tips yet among all this, there’s something you’ve neglected – how to sound great on stage using your voice!
In a world where we’re hard-wired to instantly judge people, believe it or not – people determine our level of trust or dominance within the very first 500 milliseconds of hearing your voice.
Your voice really is a vital factor when it comes down to nailing your pitching. It’s not just what you say – but how you say it. According to a detailed survey based on media appearances by 100+ top financial communicators, the sound of the speaker’s voice has twice the impact as the content itself. So your delivery has to be bang-on if want any kind of success.
So, what’s the recipe for success? Here are some public speaking tips I often share with startups to put them in good stead and help them sound great on stage.
Demonstrate authority and confidence
Interestingly, the deeper the pitch of your voice, the more persuasive and confident you sound. Did you know men and women actually prefer female leaders with masculine voices?
We can all alter the sound of our voice but if it doesn’t sound natural, you’ll be doing more worse than good. Changing the naturally pitch of your voice isn’t easy but if you can try to bring it down to as low as naturally possible – you’ll be making progress. When we’re nervous our voice tends to rise so keeping tabs on your nerves will help.
Emphasize key words
When you’re going through your script or notes, spend a bit of time thinking about the important words that need to stand out. Changing the pitch of your voice on these certain words or phrases will get them noticed, and in turn immediately strengthen a key message.
When you speaker has a monotone voice, this tells your listeners you have nothing to emphasize. By shaking things up and changing the pitch of your voice, lets them know you’re saying something important.
This ties in with the musicality of your voice. Manipulate changes to create more impact and keep your audience’s attention. These don’t have to be big – just enough to get people to remember. Try it. Small changes will make the world of difference. As you continue to practice, over time you’ll develop of knack of knowing which words to highlight.
Speed up or slow down?
Now, here’s something which a lot of people find a challenge – getting the right speed. My golden tip here is simple. Slow down. Then after you’ve done that once – slow down again.
Although we want to get a more conversational pitch than a script-read theatrical performance, we still need to talk a lot slower than we would face to face with someone. Say words in full. Say complete sentences. Take the time to let your words be absorbed by the audience. Remember to take full breaths between sentences.
Good-sounding pitches often have a mix of pace. During moments of reflection, slow right down to let your audience really digest the information. Occasionally speed up your rate as this nicely builds a perception of momentum and enthusiasm. People notice when you make these changes.
The power of the pause
Out of all the public speaking tips – this one is my favourite. All great speakers know how to use pauses. Pauses throw in colour, expression and above all – give your speech emotion.
I often use a pause when I introduce a new idea which gives my audience time to absorb what I’m saying. Some speakers tend to talk all the time which doesn’t help your listeners to make sense and digest your messages. Try to avoid pausing half-way through an idea as each pause is a signal you’re moving from one thought to the next.
Another good tip is when click and move onto another slide – stop for a few seconds. This helps your audience to read the information visually without missing the start of your next sentence. As you develop your style and confidence you’ll see how effective they are. They really do benefit your delivery.
Match your facial expression and voice
There are many public speaking tips out there but being a good public speaker is fundamentally based on one thing – trust. Your listeners need to trust you through what they see and hear. When you speak, your facial expression needs to communicate the same emotion as what your listeners can hear.
If the tone of your voice conveys something different, the listener can become suspicious and even confused. This inconsistent communication can tarnish your credibility and brings down your impact as a persuasive public speaker.
Try to match both your voice and facial expression to portray the same emotion. Remember – your audience need to trust you.
Your content may be spot-on but without an interesting and engaging delivery, most people will simply switch-off.
Hopefully you’ve found these public speaking tips useful to help you on your public speaking path. Keep moving forward and fine-tuning your voice to influence your audience’s perception of you as a speaker – and sound great on stage. If you’d like some direct help on your pitch check out my Pitch Review.
Finally, it’s over to you. If you’ve got some great public speaking tips of your own – I’d love to hear them.