The Seven Deadly Sins of Presenting…Are you committing them?

Welcome back!

We are now on Day 4 of how to become an effective and confident presenter meaning you are half way there … stay with us and by the end of the next 3 steps you will have been introduced to all seven deadly sins and the seven critical steps to overcome them.

# Sin 4 – Not controlling the volume of your voice

Ever sat through a presentation where you can’t hear what the presenter is saying?  Yes, me too! 

It’s very frustrating. Most of the time, we don’t doubt the credentials of the speaker, indeed we are in the room because we want to hear what he/she has to say about a particular subject or topic. 

As time is our most valuable resource, we have two options:

  • One, we can either interrupt the speaker and ask them to please ‘speak up’ or
  • Two, we can suffer in silence (what most audience members do)

There is a third option, we simply walk out. My time is very valuable;  if I have allocated 30 minutes or an hour to listen to a speaker, then realise I can’t hear them,  there is little point being in the room. I may as well just be emailed a copy of the slides or notes. 

Be warned, in my experience, audiences are now becoming less tolerant to ‘wasting time’ and ‘being polite’. Either way, it’s not a good start to any presentation if you cannot hear the speaker speak!  Their credentials and content are utterly irrelevant if you can’t even hear them!

You can see a demonstration of a presenter committing this sin in the video below

[bitsontherun kOt2Arng]

If you speak at a low volume and have had this feedback before, start to work on how you can increase your volume dramatically. 

  • Pause to breathe, so you can project your voice
  • Mean what you say
  • Rehearse your presentation so you can listen to the words yourself (some words simply don’t string well together)
  • Say it with conviction, mean what you say

It’s worth pointing out that microphones (hand-held or lapel) will increase the volume, in other words they will amplify what you say, but will not increase the inflection or intonation in your voice. For example, if you sound ‘boring’, the only thing a microphone will do is make your ‘boringness’ sound louder!

My crude advice, until I or one of my world-class trainers have the opportunity to work with you, is to shout.  Let me explain.

Most professional business people spend most of their time talking or speaking in meetings or on the telephone, and may only give presentations once a month. The volume of their voice is appropriate in those circumstances. In other words a small meeting with colleagues or clients across a table does not require a very loud voice, similarly when speaking on the telephone. Therefore most of us get used to speaking at what we believe is an appropriate level. 

However, when we are in a much larger room with 20 or 200 people in the audience there is a significant shift in dynamics. There is added ‘shuffle’ noise, there are more interruptions (people arriving late or in/out of the rest rooms, coffee break being set-up at the back of the room) and the acoustics may be awful. So if you try to speak at the same volume as you do in a small meeting, you will not be heard.

So why shout? You are accustomed to hearing your own voice at a certain level because your ears are about 10cm from your lips, however your audience may be at least 10m from your lips. So if you sound like your shouting to yourself, the chances are it will be an appropriate level to the rest of the room.

Play the video below to see this critical step in action…

[bitsontherun Qj8aD6TY]

Volume is the fourth critical step to becoming a confident and effective presenter. Tomorrow we will be looking at the fifth critical step so look out for tomorrow’s email.

Kind Regards



P.S. We would really value your feedback and opinion on how helpful you have found this critical step and how you feel it will help you in the future when you master this skill therefore please take a moment to leave your comments below and if there are any other areas that you would like our help with in the future please do tell us and we will create another campaign to help you going forward.