This morning’s papers are full of comments on Theresa May’s conference speech yesterday. Unfortunately, the comments are not generally about the content but about a security breach and a voice which was not up to the job.
You couldn’t have a more powerful indication of how important it is to consider what you are doing with your personal ‘instrument’ if you need it to do some important speaking.
So what did she do wrong? Well, she didn’t listen to her body for a start! Delivering more than 25 interviews on the previous day was madness. The vocal cords are delicate and tiny. They need certain things to keep in full working order:
· A relaxed body
Obviously the Prime Minister did not take notice of this. It was interesting that when interviewed by Nick Ferrari on the political radio station, LBC, he could hear the vocal tiredness and commented on it.
Could she have helped herself? Of course she could!
Less talking on the day before would have been really helpful. Even some rest between interviews would have helped the vocal cords which can self-repair if given a chance.
She may also have had a bug which can weaken the voice. When you have a cold or sore throat it is essential to protect the vocal cords or laryngitis may quickly follow.
I heard someone on BBC Radio 4 say that she should have warmed her voice the day before to get it ready for this important speech. I am afraid that would have been pointless but a warm-up routine immediately before the speech would have helped. This needed to include:
· Deep breathing
· Pitch glides
· Articulation exercises
She should also have kept away from caffeine and alcohol for 24 hours before putting the voice under pressure.
Any Public Speaker will tell you that delivering a presentation when you are anxious and stressed dries the throat quickly and this can result in a cough. When this happens, inhaling steam can be beneficial as this can directly reach the vocal cords and give some relief.
I have great sympathy for her in that predicament but this is a lesson for us all to listen to our bodies and be aware of how to look after the voice. In business we use our voice to inform, persuade, sell and motivate. Good communication should be at the heart of every day.
So what were the key messages in Theresa May’s speech? Sadly, it is unlikely that they will be remembered. Instead, it will be the day when her voice made the headlines.
If you have a weak voice, or you feel your vocal processes could be better, get help from an expert. You know where I am!
Good luck with all your business speaking today and in the future.
By the way, I think I may have an interesting session with my MP client this afternoon!
Speak Loud & Clear!