Use Your Inside Voice

Use Your Inside VoiceMy daughter teaches third grade. The last two years she taught four year old preschool and next year she’ll be teaching Kindergarten. At those ages children are still learning how to modulate their voices. It’s not unusual for my daughter to remind the children to use their inside voices when things get a bit loud. But it’s not just children that have a hard time knowing how to modulate their voices. Many presenters struggle with this too.

If you desire to excel at public speaking you’ll need to use your inside voice. By that I mean it’s not necessary to develop a booming stage voice or affect some special speaking voice to be a great presenter. In fact some of the greatest presenters I’ve ever seen seem like they are talking to me as if we were sitting together in the living room. This isn’t as easy as it looks.

In an earlier post about enunciation I touched on the challenge of speaking clearly while at the same time sounding relaxed and conversational. I mentioned Norman who was in a week long intensive presenter training with me twenty years ago. He is still the best example I’ve personally witnessed of a warm, engaging, personable guy who turns all that off when he gets on stage. His voice would deepen, his posture would change and he transformed into a person we dubbed ‘Preacher Man’.

With modern sound enhancement technology it’s no longer necessary for a speaker to have a voice that carries to the back of the room. This frees many of us who lack that capacity to relax and use the microphone to full effect. For those classically trained in projecting it’s harder to put that aside and use their inside voice. It takes some practice and awareness of how people talk in casual settings. Study conversation. Listen to the flow of normal speech. You can easily tell the difference between someone talking and someone SPEAKING. Your goal when presenting is to mimic the former and avoid the latter.

There are times when using a projected speaking voice is appropriate. Those times are usually referred to as announcing. “Ladies and gentlemen start your engines,” should be said in an announcers voice. A movie promo voice over should be done in an announcers voice. Instructions to exit a burning building should be done in an announcers voice. If you’re not announcing use your inside voice.

If you enjoyed this article, Get email updates (It’s Free)

Leave a Reply