What first impression is your voice making?

Image of a silhouette of a person with sound waves coming from mouth

This is iSpeak Clearly’s first article in a four-part series on the power of voice and vocal health.

You’ve spent hours working on your presentation, paying attention to every detail…the words, the research, the quality of the handouts, even the outfit you will wear. Your goal is to make a great first impression on your new client, and you’ve thought of everything—or have you? What about your voice?

In an effort to be alert and put together, a friend of mine drank more coffee than usual before an important presentation. She then attempted to offset the coffee breath smell with mouthwash. The dehydrating combination gave her a very dry throat during her presentation, which caused her to frequently clear her throat, say “excuse me,” and sip water as she spoke.

The impact of her message was undermined, and she did not make a positive first impression. My friend could have avoided this situation by caring for her vocal health. Just as you tend to your car to ensure its reliability, by adding gas or changing the oil, you must take care of your voice, the vehicle for your verbal communication.

When preparing for a day of speaking, be aware of your vocal health. A healthy voice facilitates a clear, confident sound, leading to a great first impression on your audience.

Suggestions for maintaining your vocal health

  1. Relax and reduce tension in the body, especially the throat area.
  2. Use diaphragmatic breathing for appropriate airflow during speech production. Read more about diaphragmatic breathing here, part of my Successful Public Speaking series: www.ispeakclearly.com/2016/05/29/successful-public-speaking-series-part-1-of-3/
  3. Stay hydrated. Drink small amounts of water throughout the day, every day.
  4. Avoid caffeine, milk products, popcorn, smoking, and alcohol before a presentation.
  5. Abstain from mouthwash that contains alcohol prior to speaking publicly.
  6. Practice vocal rest, periods of quiet without talking, daily.

Does your voice feel fatigued at the end of the day? Do you experience laryngitis frequently? Is it difficult for others to hear you speak?

If you have concerns about creating a strong, confident voice during presentations, contact iSpeak Clearly. We can help you assess your voice, speaking, and communication skills to identify areas to be developed and improved. Contact us for a free phone consultation. Our goal is to help you achieve your personal best!