I had MANY challenges this weekend, the largest one being a hoarse voice. When I gave the business presentation tips on Friday, that was one thing I left off discussing. That is, ways to compensate in your presentation if you lose your voice or have a very sore throat. Although there is no way to tell when this will happen, when it does occur, it can be embarassing and costly. When you are a presenter or speaker, you are being paid for acutally speaking and if you cannot do that, you are compromising your agreement with your client. At best, you can refund the money that you were paid, but often the contract may not allow for that clause. There are a couple of things you can do to avoid this or to try in case you find yourself losing your speaking voice:
- At the first sign of soreness or hoarseness, drink a solution of half and half of hot tea with lemon. Also, take the over-the-counter cold preparation, Airborne. This is good for giving the body a significant, healthy dose of Vitamin C and Zinc, both of which are good for building up the immune system. (This tip was given to me by one of my fellow Toastmasters, June Pritchett, who is a practicing RN).
- Suck on zinc drops before and after your presentation to help the throat relax while you are talking.
- Sip on room temperature water with lemon before you get up to speak. This helps soothe the throat as well.
- Don’t try to speak unnecessarily before giving your presentation. In other words, chat with folks as less as possible. This can cause the vocal cords to strain and possibly make the irritated voice worse. Try to relax the throat muscles.
I actually did try these things and was quite successful in giving my speech. I did have a bit of hoarseness in the beginning, but was able to make it through the presentation without going completely hoarse. I finally did succumb to the hoarseness later that night at the mixer when we were all networking, eating, dancing and having fun. By then, I had no voice at all, but was full of smiles!
There is no way that you can always know what surprises are in store for you when you are due to give a business presentation. Things just randomly happen in life. However, with a little planning and emergency preparation, you can possibly deal with whatever happens. Just be ready for the unexpected…always.
Finally, I’m starting to get my voice back today. Go figure!