As an advanced Toastmaster, I enjoy mentoring non native English speaking Toastmasters who want to improve both their accents and their public speaking skills.
Two things that I tell my mentees are:
- Speak in short clear sentences
- Don’t forget to breathe
Abdominal-diaphragmatic breathing is very important for people who want to improve their voice and increase their vocal projection. Breathing correctly sustains your voice and gives it more power.
When you use shallow, throaty breathing that comes from the upper chest, it creates tension on your voice. Your voice may sound strained or gravelly. This often happens to me.
Abdominal breathing can also alleviate anxiety you many have about speaking in front of a group. Proper breathing slows down your heart rate and helps to calm you down.
Pausing and taking a short breath after each sentence also enable you to slow down your rate of speech.
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Tags: accent reduction & public speaking, toastmasters and accents, toastmasters for non native speakers