Becoming a public speaker in Australia is an intimidating prospect. Public speakers face much more direct feedback on their work than most professionals. If you've ever been part of an uninterested Australian audience, you should know that the public speakers on stage were probably aware of the mood in the room.
So, how can you ensure this doesn't happen to you when you start your career?
While nobody wins them all, there are many strategies for improving your speech. Below, we'll cover some essential tips for public speakers in Australia to command a room.
1. Improving Your Vocal Tone
The first thing public speakers in Australia should do is make a list of which areas of their voice make them feel the most insecure. For many beginner public speakers, this is their vocal tone.
Your vocal tone is the sound and character of your voice. This is a major source of insecurity because we feel it's difficult to change. Insecurity in turns leads to panic on stage, which you want to avoid at all costs.
Structured feedback is the first step. A coach who listens to your concerns and can offer direction on how to address your insecurities can help you alter this key area. This in turn helps build confidence.
2. Building Authoritative Intonation and Inflection
Intonation and inflection cover the rise and fall of the voice as you speak. An authoritative tone can help you emphasize the key points of your speech. Overly inflected speech can be offputting to listeners, while a monotone comes across as bored. If you're bored by your speech, what hope is there for your audience?
A good vocal coach will help you to introduce emphasis in the key parts of your sentences, holding an audience's attention and building their interest.
3. Finding Your Perfect Pitch
Pitch describes how high or low your voice is. Audiences tend to appreciate a clear, moderate pitch: not high and shrill, but very low voices can be difficult to hear clearly. Your vocal coach can help you find a voice that can fill a room but is still comfortable for you as a speaker.
4. The Ideal Pace for Public Speakers
Rushing through sentences makes it difficult for an audience to follow your point. It's also a common consequence of nerves. However, going too slow could just make your audience fall asleep.
Learning to measure your pace with the aid of a vocal coach and a timer is a great habit to get into for public speakers.
5. Volume Control in Public Speaking
Speaking too quietly is a common problem. You can't be at the back of an auditorium telling yourself to speak up. What you mustn't do is overcompensate by shouting, as people being yelled at stressful (it can bring back bad memories).
The only way to find a consistent volume is through feedback. Your vocal coach should help you ensure that every word comes out clearly without it seeming like you're struggling to be heard.
6. The Art of the Pause in Speeches
Just as you should know which parts of a sentence need to be emphasized, you should know when in a speech it's a good idea to pause. Pausing to give an idea time to sink in is an extremely effective tactic — this is one reason why pauses are written into play and film scripts. On the other hand, pausing just to remember your words comes across as amateurish.
Working with a professional vocal coach to understand when to pause can be the difference between an audience understanding your speech's takeaway and leaving the room puzzled.
7. Accents in Public Speaking
There is a lot of debate over how and whether public speakers should moderate their accents. While feeling like you are speaking with your voice is important, it's a simple truth that listeners react differently to different accents.
There is some tie-over between intonation and accent — for example, in the U.K. some Australian and U.S. accents are perceived as sounding as if every sentence is a question. For this reason, it's especially worth considering how your accent sounds if you're likely to address international audiences.
Public speakers need to stand out from the crowd. Remember: the crowd came to hear you! Learn how to attract, hold and build an audience's attention with a professional vocal coach today.
To arrange a voice coaching sessions or to arrange a workplace workshop that will help you have a stronger speaking voice please contact me.