Today is the first day of classes. Your professor hands the class a syllabus detailing all the readings, assignments, and projects for the next several weeks. Maybe, your professor might throw in an oral presentation or two.
After weeks and late nights preparing for big exams and assignments worth a quarter of your grade, you’re ready to give your presentation. That is…until the professor and the rest of the class can’t hear what you’re saying. If you’re like me, having a quiet and soft voice can be quite challenging especially when public speaking occurs. There were (and still are) times when I got a little nervous presenting or even speaking up in class because I didn’t want to feel embarrassed about what I would say and how I would say what I wanted to share with my classmates.
Recently, my communication theory professor suggested that I should read out loud the readings she assigns to the class as a way to practice projecting my voice. Another piece of advice she gave was to read aloud the play The Good Doctor. Taking her considerations into mind, I tried to read out loud in order to make my voice louder.
Even though I was at home, raising my voice felt like a challenge as this was not something I was used to. If anyone knows me, it is that I’m quiet and often don’t speak up. Occasionally I can be a bit more talkative than usual, but that’s honestly rare these days.
I still challenged myself despite being overwhelmed and constantly overthinking. A couple days ago, I had to give a presentation for my communication theory class. I practiced the day before what I was going to do and tried to raise my voice louder than normal. Even if my family was around me, what reason should I have to worry if they would hear me projecting my voice? And for a presentation at that.
A couple of other ways I practiced raising my voice was by reading books out loud to myself. This might have been new to me, but I found this to be very helpful with my voice. Lastly, I went to a workshop held by the Macklin Center for Academic Success on public speaking. We got to learn about how to improve our skills in public speaking. During the workshop, we got about 1-2 minutes talking about a specific topic we had in mind. First, we had to write down what we wanted to say and then we each got to deliver a mini speech. Afterwards, each of us students got to critique one another on our performance.
Believe it or not, speaking up does take some skills to learn and become better at. Maybe try different exercises to raise your voice like I did. Better yet, you can attend the workshops at MCAS and ask questions in order to gain benefits from the workshops. One day, you’ll find your voice.