Making a Speech? Five Tips for Becoming More Calm and Confident

Sandra Kazan can help you become a better speaker and presenter


To hear yourself the way others hear you, record your speech and then listen to it.

  • If you speak too fast: Pay attention to the vowels in the words . Linger on the vowel sounds for a count of 3. i.e. "Threeeeee bliiiiind miiiiiice." This will slow you down. Repeat, then speak normally.
  • If you hate the way you sound: Nasal? Your soft palate needs exercising. First, yawn and sigh out on a silent "Ah." Then yawn and sigh out on a voiced "Ah." Repeat several times and you will feel your voice coming out of your mouth, not your nose. Weak breathy voice? You need abdominal breath support. Walk around the room exhaling on a hissing "s" making it last as long as possible. Repeat. Now, exhale on a "z". Repeat. You should feel the abdominal contraction at the end of the exhale.
  • If you speak with unnecessary fillers: Listen to the number of times you fill your pauses with "um", "er", etc. Record your speech again making a conscious effort to avoid them.
  • If you feel you can't breathe while you are speaking: Exhale. Slowly inhale on a count of 4 and exhale on a count of 6. Repeat. This will release tension and normalize your breathing.
  • If your voice sounds monotonous, even to you: Explore and exercise your vocal range. Walk around the room and sing your text. Make up your own tune. Then speak it and you will hear more vocal energy and variety.

Sandra Kazan is a speech coach, Broadway actress and director who has served as a speech consultant to corporate executives in top management positions for over 20 years. She has special expertise in coaching people who are not native English speakers and want to make speeches and presentations with greater clarity, ease and confidence.