Good Verbal Communication
Good verbal communication is essential in delivering effective
presentations, and one of the most important tools at your disposal is
your voice. Your voice can imply anxiety, aggression, boredom or humor.
If it's audible, interesting, understandable and pleasant to listen to,
it can really engage your audience. But what constitutes a good voice?
Short of taking voice training lessons, what can you do to evaluate your
own voice and improve it, if necessary? The best tip I can give is to
record yourself reading some text.
Recording your voice
- Select about five minutes worth of text, preferably something you are
familiar with such as part of a presentation you have, or plan to give.
- Start the recording, take a deep breath and start reading.
- Keep your voice natural and conversational. Don't rush.
- Don't be over dramatic (you're not a Shakespearian actor). But do try to
read with feeling, and pronounce each word properly.
Using PowerPoint to record narration
If your computer has a microphone (and most laptops have a built-in microphone),
you can use PowerPoint to record your voice while going through your
presentation slides. In PowerPoint, on the Slide Show menu, select Record
narration. Try experimenting with this before you record your narration as it
sometimes takes a bit of trial and error to get it right.
Analyzing the recording
It's now time to analyze your own voice for good verbal communication. When you
listen to the recording you'll probably discover imperfections you weren't aware
of. Listen out for sloppy pronunciation, dropped endings,
tempo, and pitch or inflection problems.
Common problems are:
- Dropping the 'g' at the end of words. Such as, goin' instead of going, or
doin' instead of doing.
- Not pronouncing the 't' in the middle of words such as tweny instead of
- Skipping the 't' after an 'n'. For example "I don' know" instead of "I don't
know", or "I wan na" in stead of "I want to"
||Does your voice fade at the end of sentences? If it does, pause
and breathe. Learn to use pauses effectively. You can overcome breathlessness
and fading by breathing from your abdomen instead of your throat.
||Are you talking too fast or slow? Ideally it should vary appropriately
with what is being said.
||Inflection is the variation in the pitch of your voice.
Upward inflection is often used when asking a question. Downward
inflection suggests certainty. Monotone inflection (where the voice
neither goes up or down) is dull to listen to. (You can easily identify
this problem when your audience start dropping off to sleep :-).
Good verbal communication begins not with what you are saying but how you say
Being aware of your voice and how to use it well can go a long way in making your
presentations engaging and enjoyable to listen to.
Effective Verbal Communication from
Good Verbal Communication
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