7 Tips on How to Use Your Voice Effectively in a Presentation
Although very few people realise just how much their voice conveys when they speak, just with the right emphasis or an alteration in tone, it’s possible to change the meaning of a sentence entirely.

There are some people who can use their voice to their best advantage and they do it naturally. They have that effortless eloquence and are always able to convey their thoughts and opinions in a clear and concise way.

Speak Clearly

And although not all of us are born with these skills, everyone can speak well - they just need to develop their skills. To help you do just that, here are 7 tips on how to use your voice effectively in a presentation.

1. Intonation and rhythm

If you speak in a flat voice with no variation in tone or rhythm, you’re more likely to put people to sleep rather than pique their interest. Monotony puts people off very easily, and will also make you appear uninterested and robotic, so try to avoid it.

When you’re practising your presentation, always try to decide which words, phrases, and paragraphs would have the most impact on your audience and put gentle emphasis on that. Mind you, this should be natural and free-flowing. The cadence of your voice should be smooth, so unnecessary emphasis or fluctuations in tone would ruin your purpose.

2. Volume

When giving a presentation, you always need to mind your volume. That’s not to say that you should speak softly all the time – the key here is to make your voice audible to everyone in your audience. If you have a larger audience, speak loudly and project your voice outward. If you have a smaller audience, however, try to speak softer.

The intention is to ensure that people are listening to you, and are able to hear your words comfortably. It they have to strain to hear you or cringe at the loudness of your voice, you’re making them uncomfortable. Eventually, they might decide that listening to you requires too much effort and will tune you out.

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3. Emphasis

People who speak are rarely aware of the importance of emphasis, but those who write definitely are. Emphasis can completely alter the meaning or sentiment conveyed by a sentence. Take the following examples into consideration. Read these sentences aloud by emphasising the italicised words.
  • He was misbehaving in the office last week.
  • He was misbehaving in the office last week.
  • He was misbehaving in the office last week.
  • He was misbehaving in the office last week.
  • He was misbehaving in the office last week.

4. Clarity and enunciation

Have you ever been reprimanded by your parents or elders for mumbling? It’s very frustrating for the audience to sit through a presentation where they have to guess what you’re saying at times. Clarity is very important in speaking, especially during a presentation.

As I mentioned before, always make sure that your audience can hear and understand you. If you don’t enunciate your words correctly or are prone to mumble and murmur indistinctly, you’ll frustrate your audience. They shouldn’t be forced to guess what you mean. Always try to speak as clearly as possible, and make sure that even people at the far end of the room are able to hear your words properly.

5. Pause

A pause at the right time can have a profound effect on your audience. Not only does it give them time to consider what you’ve said, but a pause immediately following an important point will imprint it in their mind. The very best of speakers know not to rush through their presentation. They’ll pause in between important sentences in order to draw your attention to that sentence, forcing you to contemplate it, to pay keener attention to it.

Pay Attention

You can utilise that same tactic with your audience. When you’re practising your presentation, make note of the important points. You can mark out the things you want your audience to remember easily. Once you’ve done that, use it in your presentation. You’ll soon find that people are able remember the points that had pauses before or after them better.

6. Pace

Speaking too fast makes you look anxious, but speaking too slowly can make your audience think you doubt their intelligence. When you’re practising your speech, try different paces until you find a speed that sounds both natural and clear. The pace of your words should be comfortable, and it shouldn’t strain you or your audience in any way. With that in mind, go for an easy, steady pace and you’ll engage your audience better and seem more confident as well.

7. Emotion and expression

It’s vital to let your voice express what you feel. If you’re talking about a subject that you feel passionate about and your voice is soft, gentle and mild, your audience isn’t going to get the message. Expressing emotion through your voice is natural. You do it every day and consciously hold that back when you’re giving presentations. It’s understandable that you want to appear professional and proper.

However, today, individuality and honesty is prized in the corporate sphere. Injecting your feelings into your voice is an expression of that honesty. That’s not to say that you should become sentimental or be overly emphatic. You just need to find the right tone that conveys your honest opinion on the matter. That’s what adds a voice to your presentation.

If you follow these tips and practise them regularly, you’ll notice a considerable difference in the way people react to you. Not only will you find that they pay attention to you, but you will also be able to engage them better.

Want to Improve your presentation skills?

Take a look at our high quality, tutor lead classroom courses.


Do you have any other tips on how to use your voice effectively in a presentation? Let us know!