After researching, rehearsing and organizing the perfect presentation you will immediately loose your audience if the volume of your voice is inappropriate.
This seems like an obvious factor of presentations, but think about it. Without proper public speaking volume your audience will not be able to hear you. If you are too loud, they will be annoyed and disengage. There may be circumstances and parts of your speech that are more appropriate to increase how loud you speak and done effectively, it can enhance the speech. If at the wrong time, it could make the audience uncomfortable. Your words can have immense power but only if heard properly.
First, think about your audience. How loud you speak needs to be adequate for the room and size of audience you are presenting to. A ballroom of 500 or a small room with 25 people will require different levels. If you are using a microphone make sure to speak to the sound technician and take time to have a quick sound-check. If no microphone is used have a colleague or partner quickly test various areas in the room to see if they can hear you project your voice.
How can you know if it is suitable during the presentation? Listen carefully and watch your audience. While you are talking react to the non-verbal cues the audience is giving. Are they tilting their heads so their ears are pointed more toward you? You need to increase your volume. Are they hard of hearing? Raising your voice and a slight bit more enunciation will be needed. And if you are too loud, it should be obvious. People will usually raise their hands to let you know, or pull back. If you need help, watch experienced speakers and how they adjust their presentation volume to meet the needs of the audience.
Other factors include:
– Sound System
– Age of your audience
– Unexpected noise in the room or surrounding areas
Our general rule is practice your deep breathing, enunciating and projecting, so if the microphone doesn’t work you’ll be able to finish your presentation without much of a pause.