January 5, 2008

Voice care #3: acoustics

More from the Voice Academy!

Have you ever thought about the acoustics in a room where you're speaking? We mostly look at the size of the room and the configuration of seating when determining how much we'll need to project or whether we'll need amplification.

But there are other issues that can contribute to voice strain that we should pay attention to when we're researching our speaking venues.

1. Distance from the audience

Are you standing too far from the audience without the benefit of a microphone?

2. Noisy equipment

Is there a fan, heating system, or other piece of noisy equipment in the room or nearby?

3. Open doors and windows

Are there people or cars passing by, creating background noise?

4. Walls and floors with hard surfaces

Are the floors wood or concrete? Are the walls concrete or brick? Sound will reflect of of these surfaces rather than be absorbed, sending your voice bouncing around the room.

When you visit your venue in advance, you might be able to make adjustments to some of these sound problems, like asking for the noisy machinery to be turned off or doors and windows to be closed.

Figure out how you can stand closer to your audience, either by rearranging the seating, or coming out from behind a table or lectern.

Some issues are out of our control, like floor, wall and ceiling surfaces, but knowing about the bad acoustics in the room in advance will allow you to prepare better.

Visit the acoustically friendly and unfriendly rooms at the Voice Academy to learn more!

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