How to Increase Vocal Effectiveness (Public Speaking Tips from a Speech-Language Pathologist)

How to Increase Vocal Effectiveness (Public Speaking Tips from a Speech-Language Pathologist)

Speech rate, vocal strength, and voice inflection are all aspects to public speaking many people may struggle with when speaking. As a former FFA and 4-H member, these aspects of giving a speech were all things I struggled with, as well. As I have been obtaining my master's degree in speech-language pathology, I was very surprised to find out that many people with voice disorders have trouble with speech rate, vocal strength, and voice inflection. I was astonished and empathetic towards this population because I, too, struggled with the same principles. So, my friends, here are some public speaking tips from a future speech-language pathologist.

  1. Drink lots of water: This saves your voice, especially if you are presenting all day. You do not want to dry out your vocal cords and lose your voice. My teacher friends need to know that this is most important for you! Drink up!
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  3. Slow your speech rate by slowing down your breathing: We speak on exhalation breaths. When we slow our breathing down, we take bigger deeper breaths compared to fast shallow breaths. As a result, we can slow our speech rate because we are not rushing to get everything we have to say out in one breath.
  4. Vocal strength: Remember that whole concept of speaking on exhalation breaths from the tip above? Good! To increase our vocal strength in a healthy, not damaging manner for our voice, we need to take deeper breaths. If you do not believe me, go do some exercise and while you are trying to catch your breath try to speak as loud as you can! Pretty hard right? Deeper breaths= Louder voice! All my teacher friends this is super important so that you do not strain your voice while educating our youth!
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  1. Voice inflection: However, in a very simple version to pitch variation think about tensing and relaxing your neck muscles. There is a lot more to voice production but focusing on your neck muscles is an easy visual model. Higher pitch (e.g., needed to show excitement) =tense muscles and lower pitch (e.g., needed for emotion) = relax muscles. This is a more technical aspect to voice production that if you need further advice please consult a speech-language pathologist.

I hope these tips help bring make your public speaking voice better. I can recommend further resources or more information on voice production. I want to make it clear I am not a licensed professional and I cannot ethically say this is an alternative to seeking services from an actual Speech-Language Pathologist.

If a further referral is needed for services from a Speech-Language Pathologist, please feel free to contact me for further direction. Just click on my name below for contact information!

Author: Kelsey Garner, New Mexico
Ziglar Youth Certified Trainer