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Whether you are speaking to one person or one hundred people your goal when speaking is to make sure that everyone can hear you comfortably. If you are sometimes asked to speak more loudly in public speaking situations (ex: giving updates at meetings, giving a PowerPoint presentation, participating in a conference call), then you will want to work on making your voice heard. In any public speaking situation, the first thing you should take a look at is the size of your audience. How large your audience is will determine how much you will have to project your voice. When speaking to one person or a small group up to 4, you will most likely be sitting at a table fairly close to everyone, so projecting your voice should not an issue in this case. When speaking to groups of more than 4, or if you are standing in front of a small group, you will most likely need to adjust your speaking volume so that you can be heard comfortably by all in the room. There is more to projecting your voice appropriately than just speaking more loudly. Projecting your voice is a skill Finding your “focus spot” When speaking, try following these guidelines to make sure your voice is heard appropriately by everyone in the room.
Look at a specific point in the room that is furthest away from your group. A good choice is a spot on the far wall or a desk or table against the far wall.
As you focus on the spot you have chosen, think of aiming your voice at it.
Talk to this spot you have chosen, making sure that your voice reaches it comfortably.
Although you will be looking at each person in the audience, you will always want to make sure and go back to your focus spot periodically to ensure you are maintaining an appropriate speaking volume.
To test if you are speaking loudly enough, look at people furthest away from you and watch their expressions. If they are sitting forward in their chairs or frowning, you may be speaking too quietly. If they are sitting back in their chairs looking comfortable and are smiling, you should feel confident they can hear you.
Try these exercises: 1. Sit or stand in a room in your house. Aim your voice at different places in the room that are about 3 feet away. Talk to the objects you choose by saying things like, “Hi, my name is ____.” If you have someone in your house that can practice with you, this would be ideal, as they can give you immediate feedback regarding your speaking volume. After you speak to the spots you have chosen, make sure you are confident that your voice reached that spot appropriately.
2. Now pick a spot that is about 5 feet away. This time you will need to speak slightly louder in order to each that spot. Look at the object as you speak to it, saying the same sentence above or a different one of your choice. Make sure your voice is aimed at the object and reaches it comfortably.
3. Now, continue to choose objects or spots in the room at distances of 10 feet, then 15 feet. You may even choose a spot outside to speak to. You will be speaking much louder now as you aim your voice in the direction of the spot you have chosen. Make sure your voice reaches that spot comfortably, so that you are not yelling too loudly, nor speaking too quietly.