We asked Pia, a veteran actress, what her favourite vocal exercises to do before a big speech are.
1. B R E A T H E
The very first thing that you need to do is to regulate your breathing and properly fill your lungs with air. This is done by abdominal breathing and will help you control your voice better, give it more power, and, possibly even more importantly, help calm your pre-speech nerves.
- Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, unlock your knees and loosen your shoulders;
- Place one hand just under your belly button and the other on your chest;
- Now breathe in through your nose while counting to four;
- Make sure that the hand under your belly button rises, while the hand on your chest remains still;
- Hold your breath for four counts and then release while counting till four – this time make sure that your belly contracts back to its normal position.
Repeat the exercise 3 times.
2. LOOSEN YOUR TONGUE
You need to make sure that you are going to enunciate properly and hit all your consonants clearly. So, it’s time for some tongue twisters. The trick is to say them slowly at first but make sure that each consonant and vowel is uttered precisely. Over-exaggerate the movement of your mouth and say the phrases over and over again:
- Red Leather Yellow Leather Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers, A Peck of Pickled Peppers Peter Piper Picked
- What A To-do To Die Today, At A Minute Or Two To Two,A Thing Distinctly Hard To Say, But A Harder Thing To Do
As you improve, continue to build up the speed whilst maintaining a clear sound.
3. ENUNCIATE LIKE A PRO
Insert your index and middle fingers on top of each other between your teeth. Make sure that you’re not over-extending your jaw and that your tongue has all the space it needs to move around, and practice the tongue twisters again.Do this until you are as clear with your fingers in your mouth as you are without. Then practice the opening of your speech in this manner too.You may also want to use a bone prop instead of using your fingers.
These exercises will ensure that your voice is clean, clear and projected. JCI Malta organises practical workshops on a regular basis.
Our next public speaking event on the 22nd of April 2017 will be led by an award-winning speaker. More details to be announced soon on our Facebook page.