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Speech Clinic

By Janet Adetu

So many times you attend a conference or a speaking engagement and inspite of the microphone in the hands of the presenter you simply still cannot hear what is being said. In the same space another person will take the microphone and be as loud and clear as ever.

You wonder if the microphone went on a short vacation or deduce that the speaker truly is soft spoken.

Your voice is one of your prized assets, it depicts your personality, your character and your natural persona. How you project your voice also tells us how much of an extrovert or an introvert you are, given the circumstances.   Everybody has a voice no matter how low that can be projected to the hearing of all. Though because we are all different without a doubt a number of things can affect how you use your voice.

Your voice is key to direct communication, it sets an impression immediately both physically and virtually. One major factor that can affect the use your vocal abilities is LANGUAGE.Communication is either enhanced through speaking of the same language, dialect and intonation or alternatively by not saying anything at all and replacing with BODY LANGUAGE. By this you buttress your voice with gestures, signs and facial expressions which at times has been proven to speak louder than words themselves.I always say that to be able to speak clearly and audibly, a good exercise of stretching and breathing is one to try out before the engagement.

Things Affecting the Sound of Your Voice

Environment:

Many people given the task of speaking in an open external space many struggle to shout out loud even when there is no PA system to assist. Being an outside location may mean that there is a crowd or an audience that needs to be addressed. How far this audience is, the wind, the weather and the waves may distort how well your voice is received.

Equipment:

I did mention that for some no amount of equipment can helptheir voice because they have not practiced the art of using a microphone. The microphone still requires that you will need to raise your voice a little louder than usual for best results. Sometimes the equipment itself is faulty; producing fuzzy unclear soundsor the speakers themselves are not well placed for quality sound effects. The equipment should always be tested before, during and after use.

Acoustics:

The room or space you are in also plays a major role in how well your voice is heard. When the venue or the room is in the basement it may have a dingy hollow effect on your voice. Also where there are many windows or how the room is laid out will determine the natural effect on the voice. It is again easier to have a room where participants are clustered together in front other than sparsely scattered all over the room.

All About You:

Since we are all made up biologically different YOU play the ultimate card in bringing out the best in you. Some factors about you are truly given where you cannot change, these are your gender, age, colour or physiology. Other factors are grown over time steaming from experiences in life, your level of exposure, your health and fitness regime and your state of mind. Your voice needs preparation, thoughtfulness and discipline. Be on your guard when you mount the stage always ensuring you are fit to stand for long.

Speaking Methodology:

Pronunciation is the master of all communication enough for people listening to understand you.

In pronouncing words how do you come across?

How is the PACE of your voice? : Is it fast or slow?

How is the PITCH of your voice? : Is high or low?

How is the TONE of your voice?: Is it muffled or clear?

How is the POSITION of your voice?: Are you seated or standing

How is yourPOSTURE?:   Are you upright or bending?

How is your DICTION?: Are you verbally correct or not?

How is your enunciation?: Is it on a flat platform or floating on high waters?

How is your level of ARTICULATION?: Are you slanging or are you top notch?

Ultimately a visit to the speech clinic is great if you find yourself making speeches regularly. This will give you the opportunity to learn how to get rid of habitual words, fillers inappropriately used slangs.

Watch out for steps to mastering your Vocal Skills.

Goodluck


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.