The Secret to Making a Good Speech Great?


Sing it! Now hear me out-I'm not saying you should serenade your department with the results of the last quarter's earnings. But-singing your speech can actually be an excellent strategy for improving all aspects of your vocal delivery.

Here's why. When you sing, you are connecting your words on a continuous stream of air. This provides better breath support, and will in turn cause your voice to become more resonant; your sound will travel more easily to all parts of the room. Try speaking: ABCDEFG. Now sing it. Now speak/sing it.... Did you notice a less staccato quality and a smoother, richer sound? It will also produce a more polished, confident sound; one that is connected to your breath. In addition, you prolonged certain vowels (notes), giving your voice more time to raise and lower in pitch, making it sound more dynamic.

Now, let's get back to breath. If your voice isn't loud enough or powerful enough, you don't want to push the sounds out harder from your throat; you want to use the diaphragmatic breathing you're more naturally likely to use when you're singing (and if you don't know how to breathe from your diaphragm, spend some time and attention on this!). Better breath support, more power and control, and, less tension and closure at the throat will allow the sound to flow forward easily, creating a better sound quality.

If you are like most people, nerves become a big problem when you get up to speak to a group. Diaphragmatic breathing slows your body down with its gentle, regular pattern. Focusing on your breathing is a well-known and effective technique for pulling you back to the present and grounding you in your body when you've been caught up in racing, worried thoughts. If you establish correct breathing, you lay the foundation for proper sound production and allow your body to remember to click in to the way it operated and felt during your practice "singing" sessions.

Your phrasing will become more interesting, too. We think in phrases, and we process language that way too. We pause to allow word groups to sink in by meaning. Your skillfully phrased delivery should be as impactful as a singer's. Every word has a note that's connected on a melody line, evoking an emotion and an idea. Sing your phrases and become the Frank Sinatra of the boardroom!

Finally, when you sing, you are using both sides of your brain. You are actually gaining a new perspective on your material because you're using both the creative, imaginative side (right) and the orderly, logical side (left). When you practice by singing a few phrases, and then go back and speak them, you tap into the power of your whole brain. You'll be expressing yourself in a way that feels whole-you might even surprise yourself. Your delivery feels and sounds fresh, and people can't help but listen.