How to Use Your Voice Effectively During a Presentation

A powerful presentation is about so much more than the message it is delivering. Of course the message is vitally important but unless you are able to deliver an engaging presentation, the message could be lost. Your voice is an important tool. To use your voice effectively during a presentation you need to be clear, natural and expressive. By using your voice well, you can inspire and engage your audience. 

We can all imagine the classic scene in a children’s film before the adventure begins; they are sitting in a classroom, nodding off, while a monotone, dull voice talks in the background… 

It is well known that a speech without any variation in tone and melody, will bore the audience to tears. You could be discussing the most interesting topic, but without putting some effort in to how you use you voice, you will lose your audience. 

For some people this comes naturally. For others it requires some work. Take time to consider your presentation. Which words or paragraphs need emphasis? Practice this until you get to a stage where it flows naturally.

Effective ways to use your voice:

Volume and clarity

A useful tip, which may at first seem obvious, but is often taken for granted, is to remember that a presentation is not the same as a conversation. It needs an entirely different approach. Volume is not usually a consideration during a conversation, but during a presentation it is crucial. 

Your first concern during a speech is to be heard. Failing this, everything else is pointless. You must speak in such a way that everyone can hear you. Like intonation and melody, it may be worth adjusting volume to highlight certain things or to re-energise a flagging room. However, your number one priority is to always make sure everyone can hear you! 

Even with a microphone, don’t take for granted the use of voice volume. Speaking softly can cause your words to be muffled. Practice using equipment beforehand to work out how to adjust your voice to get the volume right. The person at the back of the room should always be able to hear you perfectly. 

Once you’ve got your volume right, consider your clarity. Try to articulate your words carefully so that your audience can hear what you are saying. 

Emphasis 

Consider which parts of your presentation need emphasis and use your voice to highlight this. For example, you may be presenting as part of a sales pitch. In this instance you want to highlight very clearly your successes. So, “this financial year we’ve had 65% increase in website traffic.” Changing your voice to emphasise certain words will draw attention to them. 

Pauses 

Pauses, when used well can make an enormous impact. There are many different ways a pause can work well:

  • Give your audience a chance to absorb the information
  • Dramatic effect
  • To give you a chance to think and breathe

Pace

This is so easy to get wrong, especially if nerves kick in. Talking too quickly or slowly can detract from the message so it’s really important to try and get this right. Try and relax, master your nerves and aim for a natural pace. 

Training

Engage in Learning provide online courses to help you make perfect presentations. Our Presentation Skills Pathway courses will equip you with enviable tools and techniques to help you prepare and deliver engaging and successful presentations.

Our Presentation Skills Pathway courses can be found here