How To Avoid One Of The Most Common Flaws In Voice Projection

Voice projection is a key element of presentations and my presentation skills training puts considerable focus on how you can make yourself heard and use your voice to engage people.

One of the most common presentation foibles is ‘dribbling’: a characteristic many of us demonstrate without even knowing it.

‘Dribbling’ refers to the way some speakers lose projection at the end of the phrase or a sentence, trailing off so that the last word is indecipherable. By the way, that’s my word so looking up in a voice book or online will give you an entirely different explanation and Google ads for bibs.

In the video below you’ll hear me demonstrate dribbling when I say: “Our new marketing strategy is entirely driven by data. It is data driven analysis that is governing how we carry out campaigns.” [voice tails off at the end].”  You’ll hear me dribble  ‘Campaigns’ right down the front of my top.

Video: How To Avoid One Of The Most Common Flaws In Voice Projection

The possible reasons for this could be nerves, a lack of confidence in content or poor breath control, all of which I address in my online self-paced courses and training

As a result of this vocal flaw, the audience becomes disengaged.  If your listeners need to keep straining to hear you, they’ll stop making the effort to listen, especially as the most important information is often at the end of a phrase. The repeated vocal pattern also undermines any natural modulation, so the speaker might sound contrived.

How to engage more people with your presentation

In order to avoid ‘dribbling’, we simply need to press on the last key syllable of a phrase, you’ll hear me say in the video,  say ‘data-driven campAIGNS’. Pressing slightly on the second syllable of ‘campaigns’ will stop your voice from falling and help your project. This in turn gives more balance to the speech, emphasises key words and gives more vocal colour to your presentation.

How to practise this

  1. To rid yourself of the habit of dribbling, simply record yourself on voice notes on your phone for about a minute.  Read a few sentences ensuring your voice carries to the back of the room in which you’re doing this exercise. You can use whatever you have at hand, such as the back of a cereal packet or an instruction leaflet.
  2. Once you’ve recorded around one minute’s worth, play it back to hear if you carried your voice without the trailing off at the end.

You don’t need to shout while doing this.  Simply ensure you’re projecting the voice by holding on to the key stressed syllable at the end of every phrase, as I exemplify in the video above.

You don’t need to do this ad infinitum. After a couple of times doing this one minute exercise, your awareness will increase and the dribbling disappear.

Avoiding dribbling will help with presentation skills.  I cover vocal techniques in my influence skills training, public-speaking training and storytelling training, so contact me, Frankie Kemp if you need help making yourself heard and engaging people in your presentations. Be less vanilla and more THRILLER!

This article was originally published in December 2019 and was completely updated in March 2024.

Leave a Comment.

Please note that for privacy reasons your email address is not publicly displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This: