Voicing: 4 Tips for Better Public Speaking

By David Rose, Director LACS Training Brussels

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How your voice engages or loses your audienceConsistently effective public speakers have, together with a range of other skills, a voice that helps engage, inform and influence their audiences.

Question: Which three ‘voice ingredients’ do they all use?

Answer: Pausing, variation and projection

So, let’s have a look at the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of each of these in turn:

Speed and pausing in public speaking and presentations



Caution: Most speakers’ commonest mistake is not pausing regularly and systematically, especially in the crucial first minute when their adrenaline-fuelled nerves are at their highest.

If you fall into this trap, you inevitably commit the ‘three deadly sins’:

Three deadly sins of public speaking and presentations: speed and pausing

Remember: speed per se is a good way to lose rather than take and keep your audience’s attention


  • Prepare, prepare – mark your pauses in your notes/speech, especially for the first minute
  • Rehearse – practice voicing (not just reading) your presentation/speech, getting used to your pauses to moderate and optimise your speed of delivery
  • Consciously manage pauses – top tip: make a short point, count to two in your head while breathing in, make the next point

Variation of voice in public speaking and presentations: emphasis and intonation



Caution: We all know a flat, monotone voice is a serious ‘turn off’ for any and every audience, meaning the speaker loses their attention very quickly…

…but moving a step on from this (unfortunately not rare) extreme, how well does your voice really engage your audience?


Consciously vary your tone by using the time gained through systematically pausing to:

  • Emphasise key words and points, links between them and transitions from one part/section to another
  • Apply intonation e.g. falling to state a fact and rising for a rhetorical/direct question

Projecting your voice well in public speaking and presentations



Caution: Microphone or no microphone, speakers’ voices often fail to properly project around the whole room.

Self evidently, if your entire audience can’t clearly and comfortably hear you at all times, you’ll obviously lose both attention and impact.


  • Raise your volume – it should be c.20% higher than your ‘normal’ when speaking in public
  • Speak directly to your audience – ensure your eye contact is on them as much as possible, rather than your notes or slides. Top Tip: Use the ‘3-step’approach: (a) briefly look at  your notes/slide; (b) look up/around at your audience; (c) speak
  • Preparation, Preparation – for larger rooms, check the sound levels: have a colleague/ technician stand at the furthest point from you in the room/around the table and check your voice levels

Wrap up

Your voice is one of your primary ‘weapons’ in taking and keeping your audience’s attention.

Meaningful content delivered with conscious pausing, variation and a well-projected voice demands audience attention, so helping you produce real impact.

Does your organisation need communication skills training, event moderation or consultancy in Brussels or across Europe?

We offer:

1. Tailor-made training

  • Presentations
  • Public speaking
  • Professional writing
  • Writing for impact
  • Meeting facilitation
  • Event/conference moderation
  • Negotiations

2. Event moderation

  • Impactful, aim-focused moderation for internal/external events and conferences
  • Impartial chairing of meetings up to board level

3. Communications consultancy

Advisory consultancy to help you develop:

  • Campaigns and key publications
  • Programmes for internal/external events
  • Templates for documents and presentations
  • Internal/external presentations and speeches

> Contact me at david.rose@lacstraining.com to see how we can help you with your communications training, moderation and consultancy needs

> Visit www.lacstraining.com to see how our clients rate us + download our 2017 catalogue

1 Comment

Filed under 1 Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

One response to “Voicing: 4 Tips for Better Public Speaking

  1. Donnell Deviney

    Just wish to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is just spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

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