Voice: Focus on Performance (5 of 5)

Those of you who live in Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., may have seen Nathan Roberts anchor a local newscast or two. Over a career spanning more than three decades, Nathan logged tens of thousands of hours on the air, interviewing everyone from Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter to Bob Hope and Jeff Bridges. Below are his suggestions to help you maximize your vocal range during media interviews.

In its early days, radio was populated by announcers – mostly men – with deep, clear voices who “announced.” Those big, booming voices came to symbolize what a radio performer should sound like. But you do not need one of those so-called “radio” voices to be effective during your radio interview. You can easily maximize your ability to communicate on the air with these two simple techniques:

1. Learn to Breathe Correctly: Take a deep breath. Did your chest expand? You aren’t breathing correctly. Try it again, and this time, as you breathe in, push your stomach out. Make sure your chest doesn’t move. Now begin talking and expending that air you’ve taken in. Your stomach should be moving in.

Now you are practicing “diaphragmatic breathing,” and the benefits are enormous for the spoken word. Your voice is suddenly fuller, more resonant and less nasal, and you have much better breath control, meaning you don’t have to take a breath as often. This is a technique you should continue practicing until it become the natural way you breathe.

2. Give Each Word Its Full Value: Too many of us slur words, run sounds together, or rush our thoughts. Record your delivery and play it back. Can you understand every word? Would you be able to understand what you’re saying if you were a listener just driving along with the radio on? Or is some of what you’re saying lost because of speech patterns developed over your lifetime?

This does not mean you should over-pronounce each syllable. You should remain conversational in your delivery, but understand this is a much different situation than a casual conversation with a friend or family member. It’s a one-way conversation, and you have only one chance to communicate with the listener. So speak clearly, slow down a bit and stay conversational.

You can find the other four elements of body language here: Energy, Eye Contact, Gestures, Posture