THE IMPORTANCE OF VOICE CONTROL FOR CELEBRANTS (AND HOW TO IMPROVE IT)
When a celebrant stands up in front of an audience to speak, if the audience can’t hear, understand and/or connect with what is said, what is the point?
A great celebrant, whether that is for marriage, funerals, baby blessings or other ceremonies, is also a great speaker. If you are a celebrant but you are not a great speaker don’t fret, you can learn and you can improve. Let’s chat about how.
Some of the signs that a speaker who is nervous, unprepared or simply has not practised voice control include:
-Speaking too fast
-Speaking too loudly
-Speaking too softly
-Filling space with filler words
Here are 6 tips for Creating a Powerful Speaking Voice.
- Slow Down
This doesn’t mean speaking with sloth-like energy. Your enthusiasm doesn’t need to be dictated by speed of delivery. When you are driving through a new city or across the countryside and are wanting to take in the view, do you slow down or speed up? Don’t let your speeches become a blur. Allowing the audience to take in what you are saying as you say it, is better than having them try to catch up when the words have passed. When that happens they miss out on what comes next and after trying to play catch up over and over eventually they will give up and shut down.
With the slowing down comes a team of benefits for speech improvement:
-Avoidance of filler words
With that all said, there is room for speaking quickly in short spurts and there is a minimum speed limit when it comes to slowing down. You want consistency in the pace but think of it like a song. You don’t want the tempo changing every bar or so. That would be messy and a headache to listen to. A song that throws in a little pace change here and there though… Let’s take Queen’s 1975 hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a great example to use as an analogy. 2/3rds of the song sits at about 70 beats per minute with a couple of sections doubling that. It starts and finishes with the same, even tempo. Think of your speeches like that. Keep a nice, even tempo with a few flourishes of quickness.
- Perform Exercises for Your Voice
Your voice, like a muscle, can become stronger with good training.
If you want to be a great public speaker but consider yourself to have a weak voice, don’t give up. You can train away your weakness.
Try this: Memorise a couple of minutes of monologue, poetry, a reading, a sermon, a famous speech… Find something dramatic. Recite it to yourself whenever you get the chance. You can do it while you’re driving your car, before bed, or even in the middle of a crowded shopping centre (we will not be held responsible for the strange looks that you may get).
Imagine that you are making a presentation to a large audience. Imagine yourself on stage giving a Ted Talk, or a work presentation or perhaps an awards ceremony.
Try using different emotions behind different lines. See if you can change the feel and even meaning with a change of emotion and emphasis.
- Record Your Voice and Listen Back
After practising as outlined in the previous tip, record yourself. Then listen back and pick it apart. Replay your recordings again and again. Look for ways to improve. Look at your pronunciation, pacing, pitch and overall delivery.
- Empower the Pause
It isn’t just in the words and the voice that is used to deliver them where a speech is most potent. There is so much power in a pause that they must be included and utilised well. It is in the silence where drama resides.
A Pause has 4 Main Responsibilities:
To Emphasise a Point
When you pause after making a point, you are calling attention to said point and inviting the audience to digest it.
To Prepare the Audience
Just as a pause works well after a point is made, it is also an excellent tool for preparing the audience for an important point about to be made. Without saying the words out loud you are telling the audience to “listen closely.”
To be a Filler Killer
Fillers can include “um” “ahh” “err” etc. They are also unnecessary words that you throw in to fill space when you’re trying to remember what comes next. These fillers are message polluters. They are rubbish floating in your river of lexicon. Do you write “ums” and “ahhs” into your script? Not a chance. So why would you include them in your talk? When you feel like a filler word is wanting to escape your mouth, try pausing for a moment instead.
To Give Time for Processing an Important Point
There’s nothing like a good speech that has something important to say but if the message isn’t processed, delivering it in the first place is valueless.
Many listeners are not auditory learners. Simply put, that means they have trouble learning by listening. Of course as a celebrant you’re not giving an educational “Ted Talk” but you are sharing valuable insight, prompting emotion and keeping the audience engaged. A non-auditory learner may “drop out” while you’re speaking. A pause can give an opportunity for that person to take in what you are sharing. It’s not just the non-auditory learner that educationally benefits from the pause though. A pause allows the audience a moment to visualise what you are speaking about. This helps it to sink in.
Besides those 4 main responsibilities, a pause allows you to fill your lungs with air. This is an energising trick.
- Be Smart with Nutrition
Great speaking and the ability to project your voice can be diminished or enhanced with the right nutrition.
Before giving a short talk, eat something light. This will give you enough energy to ensure your brain cogs are functioning well and you are alert.
Before giving a long talk, about 45 minutes beforehand, have a decent, nutritionally sound, high-protein meal.
Protein is a brain food. Eating protein raises the levels of certain amino acids and promotes the manufacturing of chemical messengers that can keep you alert and energised. Some carbs are okay and helpful, however a carb dominant meal, especially if it’s junky, over-processed carbs, can leave you feeling sluggish. An alert brain can enable strong vocals. Think about it; when are you most articulate? When you are alert or when you are tired?
Drink room temperature water before and during your speech. Cold water will chill your vocal cords. This can suppress your ability to project warmth with your voice.
- Stay on Top of Tired &/or Sore Throats
If you notice you are getting vocal fatigue or are feeling a sore throat coming on, do not hesitate to take action. Drink hot (not boiling of course) water with honey and lemon juice. Don’t skimp on either. If you really want to power things up, steep green tea in the water and add ginger, turmeric, a touch of black pepper (improves turmeric bioavailability) and some cayenne pepper.
So there we go celebrants (or anyone wanting to improve their public speaking voice). We hope you ahh, enjoyed this um, you know, ahh, blog post.
Not a celebrant but are thinking of it as a great career or even side hustle option? You are a celebrant but would like some extra training?
Check out your course options here:
And/or contact our friendly team at Rose Training Australia now!
Contact form: https://rosetraining.com.au/contact-us
Phone Number: 07 3038 3048
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Email: 07 3038 3048