I still remember the first time I lost my voice the day before I was scheduled to speak at a camp for 7 days in a row. I quickly began searching the internet for ways to regain and protect my voice. To make matters worse, I was headed to a remote area that only had a gas station as an option for remedies. After a 30 minute drive to that single gas station I found a small pack of cold medicine and some cough drops. I survived day one and day two but by day three my voice was almost completely gone and panic began to set in. I decided my only option was to stop talking all together and hope it would come back. The good news is after 12 hours of rest I could squeeze out some sound, the bad news was I was only halfway with the week. At Ethos3, we know losing your voice before a big presentation is not just overwhelming – it can be downright terrifying.
But with over 12 years of experience in the presentation industry, our team has found some easy ways to protect your voice so that it’s always ready for the stage.
Just like any muscle in your body, your vocal cords need moisture to function properly. Unfortunately, presentation anxiety can often result in a lack of saliva production which creates the opposite effect. In order to counteract this problem, be sure to drink lots of water to keep your vocal cords hydrated. It’s also important to note that the water you drink the day prior to your presentation is what affects internal hydration, not what you drink the day of.
Breathe from your belly.
Most of us breathe from our chest or shoulder area rather than from our belly. However, this is not the body’s natural posture of breathing which can result in strain on your vocal cords. Being intentional about breathing from your belly will allow your vocal cords to rest and result in less strain as you speak. Start now by taking a deep breath in and concentrating on where you’re pulling the air.
Keep mints or cough drops handy.
One way to fight against the always-dreaded dry mouth is by sucking on mints, candy, or cough drops. By popping one in, you force your saliva glands to work and produce saliva which helps to keep vocal folds moist and functioning at peak performance. Don’t forget to spit them out before you walk on stage – you don’t want to get stuck swallowing a big piece of candy mid-presentation.
Dairy will coat your throat which leads to a muffled sound and the urge to constantly clear your throat. When you clear your throat, you force your vocal cords together in a very abrasive way which creates a self-perpetuating cycle of damage. Steer clear of this beverage for several days before any presentation to ensure your vocal cords stay healthy.
Drink tea with lemon and honey.
Sometimes the best way to protect your voice is with prevention before there’s a problem. Lemon and honey are a soothing and healing combination for your throat. By drinking this in between presentations, you rejuvenate your voice for the next presentation. Remember this tip whether your throat is feeling scratchy or healthy since it can both soothe and protect your voice.
Warm up your voice.
Warming up your voice is often overlooked by presenters, but it’s essential to long-term vocal health. Your vocal cords are a muscle, and trying to project your voice to a crowd without warming them up can do serious damage. Take the time before every presentation to talk through your opening section. This will get your vocal cords going before you find yourself on stage. It’s also great last-minute preparation – win/win.
As a presenter, your voice is your most valuable tool; however, it’s often overlooked. It doesn’t take much and when it comes to vocal health, a lot can go a long way. Implementing even just a few of these tips will keep you healthy and happy as you deliver your next presentation.
At Ethos3, we do more than just design presentations. We want to help you develop and structure your content and deliver your presentation with excellence. Contact our team today to find out how we can partner with you for your next presentation.
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