Basic Exercises and Tips Before Giving a Presentation or Speech

Confidence & Voice

For effective communication skills, you need to be in good voice, try doing these exercises before giving your next presentation or speech.

Find an empty room or corridor – you’ll be making some unusual sounds!

Only do these exercises if your back is in good shape. These are relaxing exercises and should be done slowly and easily – take this into account if you are particularly stressed.

With the heels of your hands pushing up towards the ceiling, have a good stretch. Keeping your head facing forward, first stretch up with your left hand, feeling your left side stretch out and then with your right hand, feeling your right side stretch out – do this 3 times. With both hands extended towards the ceiling, relax your knees and on an outward breath flop over so that your hands dangle over your toes. Gently unroll from this position while breathing in leaving your head until last.

Stand erect against a wall with your hands and feet about 5 cms away from the wall so that your body is supported from your upper back to your coccyx. Sense that your hands are getting heavier and pulling down and away from your shoulders. Sense the space between your ears and shoulders growing and the back of your head is lifting up through the spine. Gently breathe out completely – and I mean completely. When you can breathe out no more, gently breathe in through your nose for a count of 5 and then out through your mouth for a count of eight. You should feel changes in the muscles in your lower rib cage against the back of the wall while you are breathing out and then in.

Stand away from the wall with your arms by your sides. Start humming on a low note. Make sure you are using your outward breath. Gently raise your right arm in time with raising the pitch of your hum until your hand is pointing to the ceiling and you are in your highest note. Lower the arm back down to your side while humming from your highest note back down into your lowest note. If you feel the vibration in your throat but not your lips stop and say: “muh muh, muh muh, muh muh” multiple times with your lips moving until you feel the vibration in your lips. You should feel a strong vibration or tickle on your lips on the hum. Do this 3 times with both the left and the right arm.

The siren sound (the old fashioned police siren). Gently place the fingers of your left or right hand against the side of your cartilage shield at the front of your neck. With a relaxed jaw and open mouth say the siren sound in a high note and then a low note. Feel the movement of your voice box and the vibration under your fingers. Do this once.

Before others enter check, that the room where your giving your presentation is set out to your liking – make sure that you will have good visual contact with your participants and that they will all be able to see your slides if you are going to use PowerPoint. As they enter, briefly have eye contact with each participant.

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