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Ahem. What a terrible way to start out a presentation, with that clearing of your throat. Here are the very basics every presenter should know about warming up the voice. Let's start with morning presentations. For me, early morning presentations are often the toughest. My voice isn't quite warmed up yet, and since I don't want the audience to hear me clear my throat or suffer through my craggy morning voice, I need to make sure my pipes are ready before I present. I have three basic tips for early morning presentations.
Number one, get up and get moving. The steam from a hot shower can help you clear your voice. Two, avoid cold drinks. Remember, you want to warm up your pipes, not cool them down. Room-temperature water is best for clearing any morning roughness you may feel in your throat. Three, make sure to use your voice before you deliver your presentation. I like to sing in the shower or in the car on the way to the presentation. And if you're not the singing type, you can always simply talk.
It can help to practice the opening lines of your presentations out loud. Sing, talk, hum, do whatever works for you. Now if I'm presenting later in the day, I have a different set of vocal challenges. In the afternoon or evening my voice may sound tired or ragged. If you are presenting in the afternoon or evenings, keep two vocal basics in mind. Number one: save you voice. Talk sing or hum a little throughout the day to keep your voice warm, but try not to talk too much during the day.
Two, room-temperature water is still your best friend. Avoid drinking more caffeine than normal. If you're tired, it can be tempting to enjoy a cup of coffee or an icy cold cola, but you may find that each has a disadvantage. Coffee tends to dry out my already strained voice, making it sound a little worse. The caffeine also tends to compound any pre-presentation jitters I might have, making my voice sound shaky. Also, avoid cold beverages, especially carbonated ones.
Any carbonation may cause you to at least micro burp a little while you are talking; you'll want to avoid that. A few basic vocal warm ups can prepare your voice for an outstanding delivery. They don't have to be fancy, but make sure your voice is ready the moment you begin to speak.
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