speaking voice & volume

How to improve your speaking voice & volume with the help of apps

Do you speak too softly or speak too quietly when public speaking?

Do people ask you to repeat yourself because they can’t hear you?

Have you been asked during a presentation to speak up?

When you speak too softly in a presentation the audience will strain to hear you and often ask you to repeat yourself. This can cause some people to get in a fluster. The audience may well miss key points or give up trying to hear what you are saying at all. None of which is ideal and brings on a downward spiral. Add to this that the audience will also judge soft speakers as less credible and that is reason enough to want to learn to speak at an appropriate volume.

Anyone who is nervous tends to get stressed and that constricts the muscles around our voice box and impacts our volume and clarity of speech. Introverted preference personality styles like “Caring” and “Information styles” are naturally softer speakers too so this blog may be particularly relevant for you.

If you want to be heard in business presentations, meetings and boardrooms you will need to increase your volume. It’s not always as easy as “just speak up” or using an app – often there are other issues causing the low volume such as poor breathing techniques, underlying nerves and fear or old unconscious beliefs (for example you may have been told as a child ‘stop showing off’). We work with clients at the right level for them showing them how being heard in the business environment is a blend of having the right breathing and voice techniques, the mindset to allow this to flow and the right stance and body language to support the voice.

So what is a good volume?

When public speaking the ideal volume will depend on many things, from the environment to background noise, but as a general indicator the average whisper is 30db, a normal conversation is about 60 dB and a Fortissimo (loud) singer is around 80 dB. So for a good presentation voice without a microphone in a larger room, you might want to aim for 70-80db. Once we’ve taught participants how to breathe correctly and speak at an appropriate volume, we always recommend they practice to embed the new behaviour.

Do you know if you are speaking too quietly? How can you practise increasing your volume?

  1. The old-fashioned way to practise is to have a buddy help you
    1. Endure your buddy is not a fellow soft speaker!
    2. Ideally, be in the room you will be giving the presentation in, or a similar one
    3. Ask the buddy to sit at the back
    4. Practise your presentation for 2 mins or so
    5. Ask for feedback on volume and voice projection
    6. Repeat adapting to the feedback

     

  2.  Prefer to do it alone? You can use apps to help avoid speaking too quietly and check your volume control.
    1. At the time of writing this, my favourite app was “Voice-O-Meter” – it has a small charge but allows you to set a volume range from too quiet to too loud. Check out my brief video showing the app in action
    2. This app gives you a simple visual to be able to measure your volume. Give your speech and the app will tell you when you are going above or below the recommended volume range (aim for 70-80db)
    3. I also tested the “Speak Up” app which is free, but less accurate than the Voice-O-Meter. Check out my informal video demo of this app in action. It’s probably quite fun for children as it has pretty visuals but not as accurate or helpful for a business professional looking to improve their volume when giving a presentation in my opinion.

In our “Present With Confidence” programme we show participants exactly how to use their voice, body and mindset to become more confident. We love hearing the difference that our programmes (literally!) We also have other programmes to work on developing the appropriate mindset where it is totally OK to stand up and be heard. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help then get in touch today!

Dee Clayton

Posted by Dee Clayton on 4 Feb 2020

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