Vocal Exercises for Better Public Speaking

Does your voice get tired from public speaking? Do you need to boost your vocal energy and endurance?  The Public Speaker has exercises to get your voice into tip-top shape. 

Lisa B. Marshall
3-minute read
Episode #268

Voice Relaxation Exercises

If your voice is tense, it will sound harsh to your audience. It might even sound like you’re squeezing the words out. A relaxed voice sounds more confident and controlled. Here's how to relax your voice:

  1. Stand up and place your hand lightly on your throat muscles and speak in a normal tone. Note the tenseness of the throat muscles and the tightness of your jaw. 

  2. Yawn. Open your mouth wide. Finish the yawn with a “hummmm,” prolonging the “mmm” for several seconds. Drop your jaw as far as you can without stress. 

  3. Waggle the jaw from side to side and continue humming with the lips closed and jaw loose. 

  4. Repeat the yawning and humming. 

Notice your throat muscles have loosened and become relaxed. 

Volume Exercises

Here are 4 exercises to help you increase your volume without straining your vocal cords:

  1. Breathe deeply and exhale with a hisssssssing sound.  Repeat 10 times.

  2. Vary the loudness of your voice using the sound “Mmm-mmm.” Start with a soft sound, then middle, then loud. Repeat, starting with the loud sound until the soft. Repeat again soft - loud - soft - loud - soft - loud. Do this for several seconds. 

  3. Repeat exercise 2 using a vowel (for example, “ah”): soft - middle - loud;  loud - middle - soft;  soft - loud - soft;  loud - soft - loud. Do this for several seconds

  4. Repeat the exercise using a number of your choice.

If you want to keep your voice in good shape for public speaking, repeat these exercises daily. I prefer to do them in my closet so no one can hear, but I've done them at my desk too.  You may even consider doing them in your bathroom in front of the mirror (to be sure you’re not breathing with the shoulders). You can also try them laying down in bed. This will help you isolate your abdominal muscles. Just be careful - your family may mistake you for being sick!

It won’t be long before you starting noticing results from your hard work! 


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.