Your voice matters. Protect it!

YOUR VOICE MATTERS

You can find a lot of information about putting together a memorable speech or killer presentation, but there’s one part of the process you might not have thought about – your voice. No, not the tone of your presentation, but your actual voice.  It’s the most powerful selling tool you can use.

So, whether you are presenting a webinar or podcast, or delivering a presentation to a potential client, these tips will make sure your voice is in peak performance mode.

  1. Drink plenty of water before the presentation or event. Room temperature water is better than cold water.
  2. Great speakers (especially those highly paid professionals) do vocal exercises to warm up their vocal chords and increase the strength of their voice. It will give you more control over you voice, even when you are nervous.
  3. Stretch – loosen up your neck and shoulders. We naturally carry tension in those areas. You want to appear at ease when you are making a presentation. You can also stretch your mouth and tongue. Tension can make your voice higher pitched when can come across as less knowledgeable.
  4. Work on your breathing. Learning to control breath is a great speaking skill. No gasping breaths. No running out of air when you are delivering a key point.
  5. Watch what you eat on the days prior to your presentation. Limiting alcohol is a no brainer. You want to be sharp and ready, but it also dehydrates you which can make you sluggish. Watch dairy foods.
  6. Be careful with medication. Taking antihistamines can dry out your mouth.
  7. Practice speaking with energy. Find that sweet spot between projecting and yelling.
  8. Get plenty of sleep leading up to a big speech. At least make sure you get a good rest the night before your big day. Put your phone on do not disturb. Turn off your distraction devices.
  9. Dress comfortably. If the room is cold, think about a scarf to help keep your neck and vocal chords warm. If your pants are too tight, you’ll find it hard to breath. This will come across in your delivery. Comfortable shoes are a must too, especially if you are on stage. You don’t want to be concentrating on what hurts instead of your next point.

These simple tips can have you ready to deliver a powerful, clear speech and leave the audience wanting more.

When the words won’t flow

When the words won't flow

Maybe you sit down in front of the keyboard and words flow effortlessly for you anytime you need them to. Lucky you! If you’re like most of us, there are days it’s hard to get the ideas in your head onto the screen. Each piece of writing has a life of its own. Some jump on the page, others have to be fermented and coaxed into existence.

So how can you make sure quality content is delivered each time?

  1. Keep a journal of ideas. Tear out stories that intrigue you. When you are having a hard time coming up with ideas, spend some time looking through your idea stash. I keep a running list in the notes section of my iPhone. When inspiration hits, I jot it down. If you do this, pretty soon you’ll have a long list of writing prompts to get you started.
  2. Maybe your ideas hit when you’re out for a walk or run. Use the voice recorder on your phone and record your ideas. This short message could get you past a block in your current project or maybe it’s the next feature for your newsletter. Ideas tend to flow easier when we aren’t focused on the problem. That’s why it’s important to get them down no matter where they show up.
  3. Procrastination is a 4-letter word. Ok not really, but you know what I mean. Don’t add unneeded stress to the writing process by putting it off. You know the deadline. Set aside plenty of time to get it done. Life will always throw something in the way – doctors’ appointments, children activities, unexpected meetings and phone calls. If you schedule blocks of time, you can make sure these interruptions don’t keep you from producing. If you feel the procrastination trap pulling you in, think about how good it will feel to check the assignment off your list.
  4. Don’t compare your writing to others. Everyone has their own style. Don’t let your fear of not measuring up keep you from writing.
  5. Make sure your writing showcases your personality. If you love what you do, make sure it shows through in what you write. Others will pick up on your enthusiasm and enjoy reading what you are producing.
  6. Read what others are writing. What tone of voice do they use? How do they set a scene? Why do you like their writing?
  7. Notice the power of words around you. When you see an ad that speaks to you, think about why it got your attention. Does a campaign tell a story? Does it cause you to feel certain emptions? Think about your writing and how you can use these elements to make your message stronger.

Writing requires patience and practice. Don’t get frustrated when the words are slow to flow. Try out a few of these ideas and see if you aren’t soon filling page after page.

Creating a standout bio

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We use bios for so many things: introductions, blogs, websites and even when meeting people at conferences or networking events. Part of being a great story teller, is being able to tell the story of you in a way that sticks with whoever hears it. In order to do that, you need to spend a little time visioning what it is you want people to know.

  1. Use your bio as a way to let them know how what you do can benefit them. People always remember “what’s in it for me.” If you can address a need or a problem for them, make sure you let them know right in the beginning.
  2. Don’t start at the beginning. They don’t care where you were born or where you went to school (unless you’re speaking at an alumna event). Pick out particular highlights that showcase your skills or business wins.
  3. Leave out the jargon. It doesn’t sound impressive. It’s confusing to people not in your business.
  4. Don’t hide behind your credentials. Instead have examples of how you’ve managed successful campaigns, created high responses or otherwise solved client’s problems.
  5. Leave off the fluff. Just show them your results. Use testimonials to show the transformations you’ve helped other people obtain.
  6. Point out your strengths. A bio is a great place to toot your own horn. Let your passion show through.
  7. Your bio should show your vision and have your unique voice.

The about page is often an afterthought. Don’t waste an opportunity to share what’s important to you.