1. Vary your rhythm. Have you ever noticed that former president George W. Bush tends to read three words and then pause? The rhythm is not unlike a waltz. While this may sound soothing, is it effective for motivating people to action?
2. Don’t drop off the last word or two of every sentence. This is a common but ineffective speaking pattern. Add energy to your thought. The difference is HUGE.
3. STOP at important points. When you do, your audience will absorb your thought.
4. Don’t clench your lower jaw. Sometimes, people “speak through” their back teeth, trapping their speech. Instead, make the most of your voice production power, and let your words flow easily through the mouth.
5. Breathe, using the airspace from your belly, sides and back effectively. If you don’t, you’ll run out of air before the end of a phrase and force out the final words using your throat muscles, causing a strained quality and possible damage.
6. Practice good posture. This will help you breathe properly and maintain your confidence.
7. Don’t over-emphasize non-essential words. How often do we hear something like, “…wasted time, energy, AND resources.” The speaker is missing the point; “and” is the least important word of the sentence. Why emphasize it?
8. Vary pitch. When you use your full range of pitches throughout the day, your speech sounds alive. It’s also healthier for the vocal folds.
9. Vary your sound levels. The unexpected works: when students expect a shout from their teachers, soft voices may be more effective.
10. Give vocal clues: vocally emphasize important points. The critical word of a thought isn’t necessarily at the beginning of the sentence. Nor is it always the noun or the verb.