You're about to lead a pitch meeting with a new client, or present your PR measurement results to the CEO. Has your mouth gone dry? Butterflies fluttering in your stomach? Voice reduced to mouse-squeak level?
You may be wondering why this is always the case, despite hours of rehearsal and deep familiarity with your themes and data, and a thorough understanding of the likely course of interrogation after your presentation.
You may never be able to quell those butterflies—even Frank Sinatra suffered from stage fright, or so he told Larry King in 1988—but you can practice certain exercises to get your voice ready even if your stomach may never follow suit.
Charles Barber, VP of public relations and thought leadership at The Economist, offers five vocal exercises to help you prepare for any workplace or live-event spotlight—or a singing career.
- Move your tongue around your mouth as if you are removing sticky toffee from between your teeth.
- Breathe deeply into your belly and exhale through closed lips like a horse.
- Repeat a tongue twister several times. Try: “Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager, imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.”
- Start with a low hum and siren up the scale to a high pitch, from your belly into your head, and back down again.
- Massage your entire face, all around your temples, either side of your nostrils, across your eyebrows, jawline and in and around your ears.
Learn more about effective public speaking at PR News' June 23 webinar, which will be led by Leticia Ebb of Northrop Grumman Corp., Jonathan Rick of The Jonathan Rick Group and Dan Weckerly of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.
This content was adapted from PR News' Writer's Guidebook Vol. 2.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI