The Importance of Warming up Before Speaking
Students face a variety of situations in which they need to put their best voice forward: from their very first interview to in-class presentations and speech competitions. A well-prepared voice can make all the difference and help disguise nervousness as confidence. Developing good vocal warm-up habits from a young age will help students grow into confident speakers.
From my experience in drama, I have seen how vocal exercises can vastly improve my vocal quality, confidence and fluency when speaking. Read on to find out my top three steps to get your kids started:
Remember to breathe
Taking a few deep breaths never hurt anybody. Delivering speeches exhausts our voice box and vocal cords. Learning how to pace our breathing can help distribute blood flow and limit the strain on our bodies.
To start, place one hand just below your stomach, where the diaphragm is located. Breathe in slowly through your nose and fill up your lungs. You will be able to feel your ribcage expand slowly as you continue to inhale, but make sure your shoulders stay down. Next, slowly breathe out through your mouth while pushing lightly with your hand in order to release the air. Not only are you relaxing your voice muscles, but also becoming calmer in the process!
Massage your face silly!
This next step might look as if you’re making strange faces, but massaging your face can help release tension and also distribute the sound made by your speech muscles. If your face is not relaxed, the sound that comes out will be strained and unclear.
Start by placing your hands on either side of your face. Massage the jaw and cheeks using small circular motions. Next, slowly drop and raise your lower jaw in order to relax the muscles around it. The last step is to continue massaging your face up to the forehead – sound resonates all around your skull, so tension needs to be released even up around your eyebrows!
Hum, hum, hummm
The final step is humming. This exercise helps you feel the sound you make. Start by making the “mmm” sound while putting a finger on the lips. You’ll feel a buzzing sensation! Move on to making an “mmm-aaa, mmm-aaa” sound in order to warm up your jaw as well.
Vocal warm ups only take a few minutes, but they definitely do wonders for your speech quality and confidence. Try them with your child at home and see what a difference they make.
We love having students come to i-Learner to prepare their Hong Kong Speech Festival performances. It gives us a great chance to see students express themselves in new and exciting ways. Our Gavel Club and Public Speaking Classes also give us a fantastic opportunity to help students communicate their ideas to the world.
Keep an eye out for the rest of the articles in this Public Speaking Series! We’ve got insights from our expert teaching team into how you can improve your child’s speaking in a whole host of interesting ways.