How many human senses exist? Right, there are six senses. When we talk about online teaching, instructors have to make do with only two senses: seeing and hearing. Today’s topic is about the hearing part and therefore your voice.
More attention to the voice
What makes a perfect voice so challenging? Once the camera records you need to be on the spot. All visual content of your video, like some slides with text or charts with figures are already done. You prepared them beforehand and they are the basis of your presentation. Now your voice come into the game and adds some serious flavor to the content.
Imagine the making of a Hollywood Movie. The entire scene is set up, spot lights are on, the costumes are right and all props are as they should be. The director shouts “action” and here comes the deciding point if the shot will make it to the movie or not. Typically, it’s the text and therefore it’sthe voice that makes the scene a winning one. Otherwise it leads to many more shots until the scene is perfect.
Ask for honest feedback
This makes the voice a crucial ingredient of your online video. In this article we would like to investigate the factors that you need you consider when it comes to the voice. You might belong to the group of people who cannot stand hearing their own voice. It doesn’t matter whether you like it or not. In the end you need to deal with your voice in order to understand it, improve it and get the best out of it.
Get some of your listeners involved. Ask those people for some feedback who you consider to be brutally honest with you. Does your voice sound too thin, are you too loud or to quiet? Maybe you are a mumbler and slur fractions of words? Maybe you rush, maybe you drag or you use filler words such as ‘uhm’ or ‘like’ all the time? If your friends are honest you will receive a detailed list of idiosyncrasies your may already know. Be open to feedback since your listeners may also tell you some flaws about your voice you were not aware of. If you get new feedback don’t be mad but thankful. Accept the status quo and make some improvements to overcome those hurdles.
Here is a list of the most common mistakes
Speed: We are not telling you a secret that the pace of a presentation is one of the key factors to reach out to a listener. Too slow may seduce your audience and too fast may overcharge the processing capacity of their brains. A good mean while speaking is 90 to 120 words per minute. A little disadvantage while speaking into a camera instead of a live audience is the fact that you don’t have that live audience in the room. Experienced listeners are capable to tailor the speed of a presentation by having an eye on the reaction of their audience. Do they seem stressed? Do they seem bored? You can’t tell with you online audience. However, you have an advantage, too. Your subscribers on Udemy can push the pause button anytime they want. Once you rush too fast they will review it.
Pausing: It’s very important to understand the power auf pausing. A pause gives the listener time to realize to digest what you just said. A pause can be also set to close one topic and start with another. The power of silence also gives to the chance to get the attention back. Where speakers sometimes tend to speak louder or more aggressive to get more attention a pause, in contrast, is even better. Anunexpected interruption pulls the listener out of his passive mood. Smart speakers are using pauses very selective and play with the attention of the listener.
Punctuation: A written text needs punctuation. So does your speech. A dash, a comma a period must be taken seriously. If there is a period in your text make a little pause. If there is a dash, slow down toemphasize that part of your text.
Intonation: That’s the sound of your voice. Your voice must sound natural and must be a part of your personality. Don’t try to sound like somebody but not you.
Last but not least: Besides all those technical knobs you can twist and turn there is another major part when it comes to a fantastic speech design: Simple language. Yes, the topic you are presenting may be very specific and technical terms are vital. Due to this, make sure to keep it short and simple.
List of techniques that help you getting a more remarkable voice
Here are some first aid suggestions that intend to have some vocal training on the go.
Practice with a wine cork between your teeth. One of the easiest ways to practice your articulation is putting a cord upright between your front teeth. Now try to speak as clear as you can and train all the tiny muscles involved. It’s more than 100 muscles you need when talking so this is what we call a decent workout. This exercise is super simple to practice: Do it while cooking a meal, cleaning your house or having a shower.
You may have already noticed during the Corona pandemic that our communication was challenged. A longer distance or a protection shield is between you and your conversational partner. Furthermore wearing a face mask does cover a large part of your face making it hard to read facial impressions. In addition to that you need to speak louder, slower and much more accurate in order to get the message through. Use these moments to practice your pronunciation and to keep your attention to a potential learning effect instead being irritated when your colloquist does not comprehend you.
Voice cosmetics aka microphone and filters: First things first. No. Don’t just rely on a magical box of tricks to smoothen your voice as part of a post-production process. Sure, you can do some whitewashing but we strongly believe that you will only benefit from making it right at first place.
Take some lessons: You are an expert on your specific topic on Udemy. So there must be also experts for vocal training. Of course, there are. Take some vocal lessons with vocal coaches, professional actors or singer or rhetoric trainers.
Too often, we take things for granted. We do not self-reflect sufficiently. The relation to your voice might qualify for this kind of disregard.