Command the room! Five speaking tips from our voiceover experts
How would it feel if you could walk into a room, start speaking, and captivate everyone’s attention? What if you could resonate trust, confidence, power, presence, and charisma just by opening your mouth to talk? You’ve heard the cliche, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” — well, that has ramifications in both your business life and social life.
Today, we’ll cover the exact speaking tips you need to completely transform your voice and overhaul the meaning of everything you say. You’ll respectfully and genuinely command attention and take your social interactions to the next level. Fortunately for you, at VoiceBunny, we have a whole database of voiceover experts that we can learn from. And while some are “born with it,” for many, it takes years of practice, practice, and more practice to go from a B-minus to an A-plus.
Follow these tips and you’ll learn how to.
Speaking tip #1: Breathe from the belly
Take a deep breath and exhale.
Now, do it again.
Did your shoulders rise? If so, you’re breathing incorrectly.
In this modern age, most people are “chest breathers,” which means they shrug their shoulders and neck muscles to inhale. Unfortunately, that leads to very shallow breaths (as well as a whole host of postural problems) and impedes the depth of your voice.
Lie flat on the floor on your stomach and put your head in your hands. Relax your chest. Now, inhale — if you inhale correctly, you should feel your belly push against the ground. That’s good. That means you’re breathing from your diaphragm. Not only is it better for your voice, but it’s better for your overall health. (It’s also very relaxing.)
Do this for one minute in the morning after you wake up and at night before you go to bed. In just a few weeks, you will completely reset your breathing pattern to diaphragmatic breathing.
Speaking tip #2: Speak from your gut
Now that you have a deeper breath from the diaphragm, it’s time to start projecting from that source.
Inhale and speak from your diaphragm. You’ll feel as if your whole body starts to vibrate when you do. This also prevents you from speaking too nasally.
This actually has a scientific name called “vocal fry” and both men and women exhibit these signs. Instead, take pauses while you talk to inhale from the diaphragm, create a solid foundation, and project powerfully.
Here’s how it sounds when your voice comes from the gut for a female voice:
(For more examples of female voices, check out our database.)
Here’s how it sounds when your voice comes from the gut for a male voice:
(For more examples of male voices, check out our database.)
Speaking tip #3: Maintain good posture
If you play an instrument, you know how important it is to keep it clean, tune it, replace worn or broken parts, and store it in a comfortable place.
When it comes to speaking, however, your body is your instrument. Keep it in tip-top shape by making sure everything is positioned correctly.
This is one of the most common speaking tips, even if it can sound a little like a platitude, like telling a person to “drink more water” to get better from a cold.
Having bad posture — rounded shoulders, forward head, humpback, etc. — obstructs your airways, preventing you from breathing properly and also from speaking properly. It’s kind of like stepping on a running hose: the water can only trickle out of the end. Instead, create a better position to automatically speak and feel better.
Stand with your back, butt, heels, and back of your head touching a wall. Uncomfortable? It probably is. Awkward? Oh, you betcha. Hold this position for a minute and then step straight ahead while maintaining your new posture.
Speaking tip #4: Add vocal variety
Hmm? I didn’t catch that.
Now you have that projection and resonance to your voice, it’s time to make your speech something people want to listen to. And the only way… to do that… is… to speak… clearly AND with variety.
See how I did that? Even through words, I slowed it down. I emphasized certain words. I made it interesting. (Hooray me.)
Here’s a simple, yet brutal fix:
Record yourself speaking. I know — it sucks to hear your own voice on a recording, but I promise you’ll make rapid improvements. You’ll hear yourself if you’re talking talking too fast or too monotone. You’ll notice when you should’ve added a pause or changed your pitch to emphasize a certain phrase.
Just remember: the weirder it feels, the faster you’ll change. Feel like you’re talking too slow or too melodramatic. It sounds weird to you, but to everyone else, it’ll sound normal.
Speaking tip #5: Open your palate
Imagine you’re at the dentist’s office. Open your mouth and say, “Ahh.”
Now, open your mouth and say “ng.”
Alternate between the two sounds. Can you feel that little thing at the back of your throat opening and closing? That’s the palate. When you keep it open either during singing or speaking, it adds a richness and depth to your voice that wouldn’t be possible when it’s closed.
Speaking tip #6: Practice
“Practice makes perfect.”
It’s true with sports as it is with speaking. Heck, our voiceover artists do this for a living — no wonder they sound so great. Start small by speaking aloud in your car and mimic the voices on the radio. Hum in the shower. Take a deep breath from your diaphragm when you want to relax for a few seconds in the office.
Once you get comfortable, practice with store clerks, baristas, phone reps, etc. — people who would never notice that you’re trying out a new voice. (You don’t want to practice on your boss or something.) Over time, it’ll become second nature to you.
Did we miss anything? For more speaking tips and additional voice over training resources, head over to our Community!