By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to care for your voice. Reading time: 2:34.
Here are 7 ideas you can use to corral your nerves—all six miles of them rumbling, quaking and quivering throughout your body– whenever you have to step up to a podium and deliver a speech.
COOKIES & HOT WATER
1. Eat two cookies and sip some hot water just before you take command of the podium. Think of it as your game day meal – fuel for your body to gear up for a strong performance. The cookies are for energy and the hot water is to soothe your vocal cords. That’s what the Greater Communicator did.
As a former actor, President Ronald Reagan knew the importance of coating your vocal cords with hot water and eating cookies to enhance the vitality and energy in his voice. Reagan said he got those speaking tips on the care and feeding of the voice from two celebrities who built their fame on their voices, Frank Sinatra and Reverend Billy Graham.
BITE YOUR TONGUE
2. Sometimes no matter how much water you drink, you still end up with cotton mouth. Your mouth is so dry you feel like it is filled with cotton balls. It even has a medical term (xerostomia). Now what do you do? Bite your tongue. Try it now. Pull the tip of your tongue to the back of your mouth and bite down hard. You will generate enough saliva to combat cotton mouth.
3. Breathe deeply from the deep in the pit of your stomach. Practice diaphragm breathing (belly breathing). Put your hand on your stomach. Your stomach should expand as you breathe in. Then exhale like the basketball player who steps up to the foul line. Exhaling gets rid of the toxins in the body, toxins that tear down your muscles and make you tired.
4. A yawn is the deepest form of deep breathing. So yawn as discretely as you can before your speech. Your yawning can alter your biochemistry. According to research at Yale University, so another yawn may ironically give you just the right energy boost to deliver your speech.
SING IN THE SHOWER
5. Think of your voice as a musical instrument and practicing the musical scale (Do Re MI FA So La Ti Do) over and over again on the day of your speech. Ten minutes of singing in the shower will enhance the richness of your tone. Work the lower end of the scale over and over for the first five minutes then gradually move up the scale. Don’t sing too loud and don’t whisper. Both extremes are bad for your voice.
6. Step onto the proverbial dance floor. Get out from behind the lectern or come down off the podium for a minute or so. Your mini dance will capture the attention of your audience and give you a better chance to literally shake off the shakes.
7. Some professional speakers literally run up to the podium when introduced. If the only thing you like to run is the refrigerator, try a brisk walk up to the front of the room instead. The effect is the same.
Care for your vocal nerves to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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