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After a strong opening and drawing your audience in with your 'hook', you need to keep your audience interested, awake and attentive throughout your entire presentation. So, apart from structuring your presentation well; offering compelling information; and utilising visuals and creativity, what else can you do to ensure your attendees are still with you all the way through?
One of the most low-tech and important things you can do to help you improve is to learn how to use your voice. There are many ways we can use our voice when we speak publicly. The main things to be aware of are pitch, pace, pause, volume, tone and inflection. All of these elements are part of modulation, which is a technical word relating to how we vary our voice when we talk. Don't worry if you've never heard of these before - we're about to go through them one by one:
The pitch of your voice refers to where it falls on the musical scale. Ordinarily, we speak in a middle pitch voice; when we are excited or enthusiastic, we tend to use a higher pitched voice; when we are serious or want to convey an element of mystery, we use a lower pitched voice.
Pace refers to how fast or slow we talk. Changing the speed of your voice is essential during any public talking. You might like to speed up to deliver information your audience might already be familiar with, or slow down when you want the audience to really pay attention to important or dramatic points. Your pace is even more important if you are presenting something to an audience who don't have the same accent or native language as you do - you may have to adjust your pace so they can follow what you are saying.
We have all heard the expression 'Silence is Golden', but is it always the case? If you're talking on radio, video or a podcast, silence is often an enemy. Just three seconds of silence is enough for someone to change the radio station or switch to another podcast or video. However, with live speaking, silence really is worth a lot. Pauses in unexpected places or at the right moment can draw your audience in and create suspense and drama in your talk.
A word of caution, however, is to rehearse them well. It takes a good performer to really master the art of the pause as most people feel uncomfortable with pauses in front of an audience at first.