How to Project Your Voice in Innovative Presentations— Without Shouting

By Ray Anthony, Barbara Boyd

An important rule of innovative presentations is to project your voice instead of shouting. Speaking loud by shouting comes across as strained, empty, and unnatural. It may also appear overbearing, harsh, or irritating.

Did you ever wonder how orators in antiquity could be heard by thousands of people without the benefit of amplifying speakers? And, how is it that a small dog can bark so loudly and an infant cry with such surprising lung power for so long?

These three examples all involve projecting voices using diaphragmatic breathing (also called deep breathing or belly breathing) which is used by yoga practitioners, martial artists, and singers, as well as professional speakers.

Your diaphragm is a thin sheet of dome-shaped muscle that separates your lungs from your stomach. In deep breathing, as you slowly and deeply breathe in air through your nose, your abdomen expands (rather than your chest) along with your diaphragm, thus sucking in large volumes of air that fill your lungs.

As you exhale slowly, your diaphragm contracts upward pushing air from your lungs. Visualize the air filling your lungs from your collarbone to the bottom of all of your ribs and then that same space emptying from the bottom of your ribs to your clavicle as your exhale. Make your inhalation as long as your exhalation.

Do this deep breathing exercise ten times in a row several times a day, ideally while standing or lying flat on your back, or at least sitting up straight with your shoulders pulled back.

Work up to a count of ten on both the inhalation and exhalation, After you develop a routine like this, you won’t even know you are doing it while speaking, and you’ll be amazed at how much better your voice sounds. Good, rich voice projection facilitated by breathing deeply and naturally does not sound like shouting in the least.

You can compare deep breathing to the woofer of a speaker system that visually moves in and out pushing larger quantities of air than smaller mid-range speakers or a tiny tweeter.

Just like the woofer, diaphragmatic breathing enables your lungs to push out greater volumes of air, which produces deeper and richer speaking tones along with a louder volume without straining your throat or sounding harsh. The increased oxygen in your bloodstream relaxes you as well, reducing speaking jitters.

Deep breathing exercises performed throughout each day provide health and relaxation benefits and serve you well when speaking.