You’ll have a difficult time presenting without your voice, so take good care of it! If you find your voice is weak, or gets sore when you facilitate or present, use these tips to manage it:
- Warm up your voice before presenting. These exercises will do the trick nicely. Try doing them before and after presenting. You’ll look and sound pretty weird, so try to find privacy in a stairwell if you need to soothe your voice during a break in a full day of presenting.
- Drink a lot! Try water without ice and herbal tea. Ice will restrict your vocal muscles so stick to cool or warm drinks. Keeping a drink handy is especially important if you get dry mouth from nerves.
- Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake before and during your presentation. These drinks are diuretics and will dehydrate you—all of you, including your vocal cords!
- If you feel nervous before your talk, relax your body with deep breathing exercises. When you’re tense, especially in the neck and shoulders, you use rapid, shallow breathing. A voice unsupported by deeper abdominal breathing cannot project and will tire quickly.
- Give your voice a break when you can. If you are hoarse from overuse, a rest from talking will help you recover. That means avoiding long, chatty phone calls and conversations that can wait until your voice is rested.
- When you’re speaking to large groups use a microphone. Without one, you’ll need to yell, which strains your vocal cords and ruins your voice quality.
Do you know any other strategies? Please share if you do.