My express high-energy vocal warm-up for public speaking success!
As you probably know, your voice needs a great warm-up before any kind of speaking, presenting or teaching situation so that it can exude clarity and power!
I have combined a professional-grade vocal warm-up with some evidence-based energy-boosting exercises to get you playing big and exuding confidence, ready to WOW your audience!
You can pick and choose from the steps below, depending on which parts feel most helpful for you. Remember that the first few times that you do it, the whole thing will probably seem completely wacko, unless you come from a performance background! Just go with it, trust the process, and watch how much more alive you appear on stage or on video!
STEP ONE: POWER POSING
There is a great evidence base showing that how you position your body physically affects your mental state!
(see an amazing Ted Talk about this here: https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are).
Power posing includes postures like:
- Standing with your feet apart, taking up more space
- Hands on your hips
- Hands behind your head
- Arms up or spread wide
- Facial expressions such as smiling widely
These fundamentally make you feel more powerful, strong and confident, just by adopting the posture for a period of time!
So for step one, your going to adopt one or a combination of power poses.
My favourite is to stand up, put my hands behind my head and walk around my space, taking big steps, smiling widely. I add some visualisation to this by imagining that I’m the CEO of my own company, striding around my (imaginary) stunning fifteenth-floor city-centre office, having aced what I am (in reality) about to do. Do this for at least a minute, and combine it with the other steps below.
STEP TWO: RELAX YOUR BODY
A tense body is the ENEMY of a dynamic presentation and clear voice!
- Stand up tall with your arms above your head, then flop down from the waist, allowing your arms to fall toward your feet.
- Stand up again and now swing your arms from side to side, twisting at the waist.
- Relax the muscles in your face and mouth my imagining you are chewing an ENORMOUS toffee - do big, exaggerated, open-mouthed chewing and move around ALL of the muscles in your face, mouth and tongue. The goal is to allow all of the tension to flow out of your body and get everything feeling nice and loose! I like to alternate each of these exercises with power posing!
STEP THREE: GET YOUR VOICE WORKING
Start gently, as if you were warming up any other muscle.
- Start by breathing deeply, letting the air fill the bases of your lungs, right down in your stomach.
- Now make a ‘trill’ with your lips, like blowing a raspberry or doing an impression of a horse (you know, that flappy-lips thing that they do, like a long ‘ppppprrrr’ with your lips).
- Now put some sound on top so that it sounds like phone ringing, or like you are shivering, like a ‘bbbbrrrrrr’.
- Next make a few long ‘eeeeeeee’ sounds, still breathing from your stomach, and try to get them nice and steady. Check that they are sounding nice and relaxed, not tight and creaky.
- Now glide upwards gently on the ‘eeee’ sound, and then in the next breath glide down on the ‘eeee’. No need to go right up high or down low, just keep within what feels comfortable. Keep the sound ‘swoopy’ and DON'T turn it into a scale - you’re looking for smooth gliding, not individual steps.
- Lastly, warm up your mouth muscles by choosing a word like ‘bow’ (that you would do to the Queen, not like bow in your hair) or ‘meow’. Repeat these at least ten times, exaggerating your mouth shapes as widely as possible.
(This might seem a bit overwhelming, so start with just breathing. Then the next day add the trills. Then the next day the ‘eee’s, then the next day the pitch glides, then finally the bow/meow. You’ll get great at doing this while you’re power posing, and you’re voice will be warm, comfortable and ready to go!)
STEP FOUR: MOTIVATIONAL MUSIC
For this part, find a song that makes you feel TOTALLY PUMPED! This is basically going to be your theme song!
It doesn’t matter what it is, and you don’t have to feel embarrassed, since no one else needs to hear it (you can use headphones for this!). If Britney is your thing, great! If heavy rock makes you feel invincible, brilliant! Rocky music? Perfect! Whatever your preferred style of music, just pick a song that makes you feel like a total badass, the song that you’d pick if you were walking out into a boxing ring, stick it on at a high volume for a minute or two and let it fill you with it’s awesome energy (pretending to be Beyonce and strutting are optional!). You can put this on while you are power posing and doing your vocal warm up if it helps, or start it after you’ve done 1-2 minutes of those.
STEP FOUR: GET YOUR HEART RATE UP!
Do something, anything, that gets your heart rate flowing!
It might be jumping or running on the spot, doing press ups, burpees, anything that gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping! Go flat-out, as hard as you canfor one minute while your theme song is on and then take five deep breaths.
So now your ready to ace your webinar or presentation and are suitably high-energy and vocally warm to captivate your audience! Give this a try before your next speaking event and see the transformation in your on-screen or on-stage presence!
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Lizz Summers is an independent voice and presentation skills coach for entrepreneurs who want to be seen and heard in their business to attract their dream clients.
Lizz is now accepting applications for personal voice, speech and accent coaching. For enquiries about working with Lizz one-to-one, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.lizzsummers.com/contact to book a complimentary online introduction call.
Please note: the exercises contained within this guide are generic exercises that are widely applicable to voice users, and do not represent clinical advice or personalised strategies. They are intended for use by individuals with clinically ‘normal’ voices, and may not be suitable for individuals with vocal pathologies or disorders. Responsibility cannot be taken for any discomfort, difficulty or problem arising from the completion of these exercises. In such an event, you are advised to contact a medical professional for individual advice. The above advice does not replace the advice of any medical professional with whom you are receiving treatment.
Credits to Daria Zest www.dariazest.com for the inspiration behind elements of this warm up system