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Showing posts from December, 2014

How to Use Your Voice

Vocal variety is extremely important in public speaking. It’s often not what you say but how you say it that counts. Think about successful communicators for a moment. How do they use their voice? Is their voice dry, weak and staccato? Or perhaps is it musical and dramatic? You’ll find that the latter traits are far more prominent in strong speakers. This post will discuss the three primary tools that contribute to your vocal performance in a speech. Volume, pitch, and rate are the fundamental factors that contribute to what is known as vocal variety. Volume is simply how loud your voice is. Speakers must project appropriately. Think of the volume button on any of your devices. Different scenarios call for different volume levels. A powerful and booming voice engages listeners. A shift to soft and quiet moments can help accentuate a more meaningful or contemplative part of a speech. In either case, varying your volume becomes an effective way to draw listeners into your message.

How to Reduce Vocal Fillers

Vocal fillers are the words or sounds we use to fill in the gaps when we're talking. Common fillers in speech include um, uh, ah, you know, like and so. These are sometimes used appropriately to let people know that we're still talking and about to move on to our next point. More often though, they signify nervousness and can be extremely distracting when used in abundance. Simply put, the best speakers use little or none of these vocal fillers. So then let's discuss some of the ways to avoid our 'um's and 'ah's. The first step to reducing vocal fillers is to become aware of them. Count the vocal fillers you use in conversation or speeches. Notice when your friends and family use filler words. Pay attention to how many 'um's professional communicators i.e. actors, reporters and talk show hosts are using. You will probably find that people are much harder to listen to when they use lots of fillers. Next, remember to end your sentences before movin

How to Rehearse a Speech

It's essential to know how to rehearse effectively. A speech rehearsal involves practice, preparation, organization and confidence. Some people like to repeat a speech 5+ times before delivering it. Others prefer to 'wing it' and rely on their skills and confidence. Each approach has its merit. In this post I'll share what I've found to be effective guidelines for rehearsing a speech. First, I advocate practicing the day and/or morning before your speech. I've noticed that for many students over-rehearsal can increase speaking anxiety and result in 'psyching' them out. When you rehearse more than a day or two before a speech it's likely that the material won't stay in your memory. Second, it's imperative that you have strong and clear notes. Speech organization and clarity is key. Whatever else you've prepared, when you know your thesis and main points you cannot forget the material. You may not remember the exact phrasing you planned

The Benefits of Public Speaking

Why should you care about public speaking? This question is relevant to anyone seeking to improve their speaking skills. Simply put, the subject is important because of its potential to improve a person's professional, academic and interpersonal life. Most, if not all employers seek individuals with strong communication skills. Take a look at job postings in any field and you're likely to find some variation of the phrase 'seeking person who can communicate effectively with employees and customers'. Good speaking skills are vital to any job. Anyone who has participated in a job interview has relied on their speaking skills for employment in the first place. Many schools require this class and there's a reason behind this. Besides the formerly discussed point of how speech can help people in their career, it is also essential in most classes. Students are often called upon to create a PowerPoint presentation, to participate in class and work with their peers and