Speak Up … I Can’t Hear You!

An easy way to make your workplace presentation more interesting is simply to speak louder. Really. That’s all it takes to become a more engaging presenter. Speaking up can significantly impact your audience’s attention, interest in your message … and positive impression of you, the messenger.

Loud is Good

In our culture, we tend to interpret a soft-spoken voice as coming from a person lacking confidence or credibility. Not good reactions for your audience to have about you. Even on a microphone, the soft-spoken voice delivers that weak impression loud and clear. It doesn’t matter if these reactions are valid – remember that Perception is Reality. If you sound weak to the audience – you are.

We’re conditioned from birth to be quiet. How many bazillion times did someone tell you to be quiet, keep it down or use your ‘inside voice’. As adults, this conditioning creates an automatic volume control monitor in your head. When you exceed that level, the little red light goes on and tells you to get quieter.

The problem for presenters is that monitor is preset for one-on-one volume level. Even in a small meeting room, you’re much farther away from the closest listener than in normal conversation. So, overcome your programming, ignore the little red light and speak up.

Volume Has Impact!

Increasing your volume has positive effects on your audience:

  • You’re easier to hear, especially over room noise, side conversations, outside distractions and the hum of the projector. The easier it is to hear you, the easier it is to listen to what you say.
  • As your volume increases, so does your inflection or change in pitch. You don’t have any inflection when you whisper. When you speak up, you naturally add more vocal color and emphasis to your message delivery. That emphasis makes it easier for the audience to understand important points. And you’ll avoid speaking in a monotone – a major audience turn-off.
  • Since audiences equate volume and vocal energy with credibility, speaking up is especially important for speakers who are smaller in stature, younger or female. So, harness the power of the ‘Mom Voice’ or ‘Soccer Coach Voice’ so your audience is confident in your message.
  • Increasing volume also channels that nervous energy your body is generating more productively. You burn off those extra calories with vocal energy instead of nervous physical mannerisms. By breathing deeper, the extra oxygen helps relax you. Your audience sees and hears a more confident, credible – and interesting – speaker. They like that.

So, when you’re practicing your presentations out loud, consciously increase your volume. See for yourself that it will increase your vocal energy and natural inflection when you Speak Up.