Speaker's guide : How to be heard in loud environments

The speaker’s guide to surviving Christmas parties

In Breathing, Improve Your Speaking, Speakers, Voice by Thila RajaLeave a Comment

Speaker tips on how to safely project your voice and survive the loud parties!

The end of year is looming, and so are the extra social gatherings that come with it! How many of us have sore voices after loud parties?  If you are speaker, how do you enjoy your parties and not lose your voice?
Talking in certain environments requires increased use of volume. These include talking: when driving a car, in noisy restaurants, at social parties, in aeroplanes, night clubs etc. Whilst it is ok to have a loud night here and there, care must be taken not to overdo loud talking, especially if speaking is part of your profession.

Here are some tips you can use to be heard:

1) Face the listener.
When your listener is facing you, your speech is directed towards them. This helps the them read your paralinguistic cues as well as read your facial cues. Combining facial and paralinguistic views will help convey your message loud and clear.

2) Overarticulate, rather than increase the volume
This refers to articulating each word carefully, with special attention to ends of words. Saying “I want to go to the movies,” by enunciating each word clearly, is better than gliding over them like this,” I wanna go to the movies”
In a noisy room, lots of background noise will interfere with your speech, hence clarity will drive home the message, without you having to repeat yourself.

3) Speak at a slower rate, to avoid the need for repetition.
Speaking deliberately will help the listener understand your message more. Slow down your speech by just a fraction and take adequate pauses. Inhale and exhale using your abdominal breathing techniques, and start speaking. Read your listener’s facial cues, and communicate accordingly.

4) Speak at normal pitch
Most of us tend to increase our pitch and loudness to be heard in background noise. However, this places a strain on our vocal cords and we start using our muscles unnaturally. If you feel yourself straining your voice, take a break, have some sips of water to hydrate and focus on taking comfortable breathes before you start speaking again.

5) Get attention
If you are giving a speech at a work Christmas party, there will be a small audience to address. If you have a microphone, use it to increase volume. If there is none available, get the attention of everyone in the room, by clapping or clinking of glasses. Announce that your speech will be for a few minutes only. Take some breaths to centre yourself and speak by projecting your voice around the room. Think of your voice as an extension of yourself, and just simply a voice that you are projecting out.

The next time you are at a noisy social gathering, try the following tips above, and do let me know how you fared.

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