Vocal tricks for speakers to sound smarter and more composed

Jitters can undermine a presentation. It’s not just that nervousness causes stammering and forgetfulness; it strains your vocal cords and makes you race through. Wise up, and calm down.

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If you’re like most people, you’re a little nervous. Well, OK, maybe you’re more than a little nervous. Maybe you’re terrified, and maybe you’re asking yourself: How do I sound more intelligent, confident, dominant, and attractive than I really am in order to win over this audience?

Fortunately for you, Susan M. Hughes, from the Department of Psychology at Albright College, has carried out a neat little research study to help you do exactly that.

The results are more nuanced and surprising than you might expect.

Let’s say you want to sound more intelligent. Simply speak more slowly. We’ve all noticed the speakers who rarely pause for breath, filling up all the available airwaves with their talk, as if afraid of having the microphone taken away from them. Well, apparently, we rate that torrent of sound as a lack of expertise, rather than a sign of it. So, to increase the estimations of your IQ by the audience, slow down, build in pauses, and breathe. In addition, talking a little louder also appears to help to make you sound more intelligent.

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