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Listen to Yourself


Techniques Public speaking > Preparing Yourself > Listen to Yourself

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



Listen to your voice when you are speaking. The easiest way to do this is to record yourself as you practice.

Things you can watch out for include:

  • Hurrying, speaking too quickly.
  • Speaking too quietly.
  • Words slidingintooneanother.
  • Speaking in a boring monotone.
  • Pausing too much to think.
  • Under-use of pauses after key points.
  • Over-exaggerated emphasis.
  • Lack of passion and concern.
  • Overly emotional words and tone.
  • Stilted speech that does-not-flow.
  • Over-use of words you use and use again.
  • Using elaborate, excessively sophisticated language.
  • Use of jargon.
  • Using other unclear language.

If you speak with a dialect or regional intonation that others may found difficult to understand, try to slow down and clarify the way you speak, perhaps with a 'neutral' accent.


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WELCome to the first talk of the evening where I will becoveringsomeinteresting .... things ... er ... and I ... um ... hope, well acterally, know, y'll b'appy t'ere about feralactic discumbobulation.


Hearing your own voice can be strange at first as syou usually hear yourself through the bones of your head and what others hear is quite different. But do not worry about the basic voice -- we all sound odd to ourselves even though other people think we sound quite normal.

One of the most basic errors in speaking is hurrying, going too fast for the audience to understand words and keep up with understanding your words. A cause of this is stress, where you naturally speed up to try to get it all over with as quickly as possible. This can also lead to words sliding into one another and other lack of clarity.

Another problem, especially in a larger venue where you do not have a microphone is not projecting your voice. This is something that actors learn (and you can learn too). Your speech can also appear quiet when you do not face the audience, such as when you your head down (eg. looking at the computer) or away from them (eg. looking at the floor).

As with many things it is easy to over-compensate, for example where, in seeking to be expressive, you end up over-exaggerating or over-enunciating clearly, and end up appearing as if you are talking down to your audience, as if they were little children. This effect can also happen if you try to impress by using elaborate language and just end up appearing arrogant.

As well as listening to yourself, it can be helpful to get feedback from other people, as it is what they hear and understand is ultimately most important.

See also

Use of Language


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