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XR sessions are such a powerful and important tool, whether they are public facing or for internal training. This might sound obvious, but it’s good to keep reminding ourselves.

When delivering a session, it is important to give it your best shot! You are XR’s front line and making a good impression, as well as an emotional impact, could bring in new rebels and other supporters. It could also have ripple effects (both good or bad!) that you might not have considered.

It is always useful to refresh our awareness of the broad range of presentation techniques and practical tips that help both presenters and participants to maximise the value of any session, especially

  • always warming up your voice and [for new presents] practising your script

  • maintaining the quality of your talk in terms of clarity, tone, and avoiding ‘speech fillers’

  • making the most of your voice and your whole range of facial expressions

  • making a quick and strong emotional connection with your audiencep

For anyone speaking in public, even for a short talk, it is really important to warm up your voice and your body.

Of course, you should experiment to find what works best for you - there’s no one right way to do this, but it IS essential you do some kind of warm up.

If you are doing a few talks in one day, perhaps at a rally, a vocal cool down and warm up in between talks will also help.

Voice Warm Up Exercises [5-10 mins] Follow the steps below or watch and follow this video.

  1. Breathe deeply, relaxing your belly, so belly, ribs, and back expand with your breath. 
  2. Stretch out your neck, jaw, face and sides. 
  3. Activate your breath support muscles with a hiss exercise.
  4. Begin vocalizing on something easy to start stretching out the vocal cords e.g.: lip roll, “HM” (hum), or “NN”.
  5. Sing on an easy, relaxed OO vowel to work on good, consistent resonance throughout your range.
  6. Open up to an “AH”, “YAH”, “UH”, or “YUH” to relax the jaw down and lift the soft palate up. 
  7. Get into mix voice with an “NG, “NYAH”, “NAY”, “MUM”, or “BUH”.  
  8. Warm down: If you spent quite a bit of time working out, warm down with a gentle hum or lip trill.

Body Warm Up Exercises [5 mins]

  • Stretch your arms up above your head; drop them down. Repeat x 3.

  • Bring your shoulders up to your ears; drop them back down; drop them further. Repeat x 4

  • Roll your shoulders forward several times. Roll them backwards a few times.

  • Wriggle out the tension. Take a deep breath and give a long exhale.

And always remember to keep hydrated - this will also help protect your voice.

Have some water within reach. If your mouth gets dry, or you just need a minute to compose yourself, it’s a great help to say ‘excuse me for one second’ and take a drink.

A tip from the theatre world is to put some lip salve on your teeth to stop your lips sticking on them!

DealingPresenter’s Environment On Zoom, before you begin your session

  • close unnecessary internet tabs, make sure nothing is downloading, etc, and generally ensure you have nothing competing with Nerves

    your Evenvideo thebandwidth mostso experiencedyou speakersdon’t canappear getdistorted nervousto your participants.

  • try to ensure your camera is level with your eyeline, and not pointing up or severely down at your face - itsthis natural - but developing your confidence will helphelps you to beappear clearnatural.
  • put your phone on silent and tomake minimisesure thoseit’s verbalnot fillersresting suchon the same surface as “er” "um" or “like”. These can become habits we don’t even notice, but listeners can find them very distracting and this dampens the impact of your Trybecause recording one of your sessions and watching it to spot fillers.

    Here are some tips and tricks to help with nerves and improve the quality of your presentation:

    • speak clearly, in short phrases. Listeners need time to absorb your words

    • take deliberate breathing pauses. Don’t worry - theyvibrations/buzzing will feelstill abe lotpicked shorter to participants than they do to you, but they help with your pacing and energy levels. Use the pauses to

      🔹take a drink of water!

      🔹make eye contact with participants

      🔹create impact after something you've said

      🔹find your place in the script if you have temporarily lost it - but there is no harm in saying you’ve lost the place so 'excuse for a moment' until you find it. We’re only human!