Master Your Voice to Captivate Your Audience

An often overlooked aspect of a presentation is your voice. I’m not talking about the things you say; this post isn’t about filler words or the context of your presentation, but about the actual quality of your voice. A study conducted at UCLA by Dr. Albert Mehrabian found that when visual, vocal and verbal sounds are inconsistent, the actual content of your presentation counts for a mere 7 percent of the entire message. Everyone’s paying attention to what you do. In fact, 55 percent of the message, according to Mehrabian, comes from your facial expressions and body language. The remaining 38 percent comes from your voice. Sure, it’s less of a factor than your posture, your gestures, and your facial expressions combined. But mastering your voice gives your message a 38 percent better chance of getting through. With that in mind, here are some tips for improving your voice quality.

Let yourself be heard…by yourself

Have you ever heard yourself on a recording and discovered that your voice sounded different than the way you hear it in your head? That’s because it does. Your voice enters your inner ear via vibrations in your chest, throat, and mouth. This is called bone-conditioned sound, because it hits your inner ear after traveling through the tissue of the head. All external sounds travel through the air, where they’re dispersed, then enter your ear. This is called air-conditioned sound. The latter sound type typically sounds less rich, higher in pitch. So one of the best ways to get an accurate idea of what you sound like is to leave yourself messages or speak into a recorder. You can try different things out and alter the pitch of your voice to get the best clarity.

Animate Your Voice

Some people think it’s best to sound casual when they speak. But if you sound too casual you may come off as dispassionate, monotone, or downright boring. Instead, focus on animating your voice, delivering key emphasis on important aspects, varying pitch and tone. With some practice your talks will become livelier, your audience more engaged.

Physical Vocal Support

There are a number of physical things you can do to improve voice quality. You can sit or stand up straight, which ensures your airway is unhindered. Take deep breaths; the more air the better. As you talk you can use your lower diaphragm to push the air back out, helping your voice to sound clear and confident. You should also focus on using the muscles in your tongue and mouth to articulate the words correctly and avoid slurring.

Paying attention to the actual quality of your voice is one of the best ways to captivate an audience. Though it may seem tedious, taking the time to learn the above steps is one of the best ways to improve your public speaking.


Looking for ways to improve your speaking abilities? Here are four more resources:

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AccuConference |

The Coming Video Conferencing Revolution?

Apple has just filed a patent on a two-way LCD that can both display and capture video and images simultaneously. The technology uses special receptors embeded in the liqud crystal display screen. Obviously this has tremendous applications for videoconferencing, where you can actually look into the eyes of someone you’re speaking with, and they will be looking right at you, since the display and the camera are the same unit.

The technolgy could be used in video displays, as well as cell phones and PDA’s.

You can read the entire article here.

Quality Health Care at the Reach of All

When the average citizen is asked to indicate aspects of life they are most concerned with, health will inevitably come up at the top of the list. Having access to proper health care is an issue that governments constantly battle with. New technologies are sought to respond to the needs of both practitioners and patients. Videoconferencing has, therefore, gained strength in the medical field as a mean to respond to some of the present medical challenges.

The practice of medicine using interactive video has enormous benefits, many of which are still to be exploited. Teleconferencing allows consultations and other medical services to take place without the need for doctor and patient to be in the same physical space. Health care has, therefore, become more accessible to patients living in more remote locations, who otherwise would not have the means to commute to a local hospital or health care centre. Patients are followed more closely as financial and travel constraints no longer are a concern. Patients see their hospitalization time reduced as well, as doctors can follow up on their condition through videoconferencing. Such a situation benefits health care organizations as patient expenses are reduced, as well as the actual patient who can continue treatment from the comfort of their home.

On an educational level, Video Conferencing has become an important tool which can offer medical staff ongoing training. On the other hand, videoconferencing puts doctors in contact, regardless of where they are thus granting them greater confidence in patient diagnosis as they are in easy reach of a second opinion. What’s more, doctors have easy access to patient information which can accelerate and assist patient analysis.

As the medical world exploits telemedicine for its obvious benefits, its contribution to saving lives arises as the greatest of them all.

Sources:
http://www.ortcc.org/PDF/benefitsoftelemedicine.pdf

Video conferencing in your Comfort Zone with your PC

Video conferencing has become a somewhat common tool used in business and education to put people in contact. It surfaces as a solution to that so often quoted expression “Time is money!” As we battle with not having enough of it, new technologies are currently at the service of society allowing us to undergo everyday tasks including business and education from our own homes abolishing time and travel constraints. Nowadays videoconferencing can, therefore, take place in a conference room at a major enterprise or simply from a PC to another, known as desk-top videoconferencing, from the comfort of one’s home.

You are probably wondering how big an investment must be made to integrate a videoconferencing system on a home computer. You will be pleasantly surprised in knowing that the additional software needed is minimal (usually a video board, camera, speakers, microphone or a headset and telephone attached) and costs virtually insignificant. What concerns hardware, most videoconferencing services run on computers which, if relatively new, already comprise the needed requirements.

When considering desktop video conferencing, your internet connection will greatly influence communication. It is therefore, important to check, and if necessary, upgrade internet speed as well as ensure that the internet service provider offers the needed services.
Once all elements are properly installed, at the touch of a button a world of audio, video and data sharing are at the user’s reach. Not only can the participants be seen and heard, but also exchange information.

Conferencing through a desktop computer can therefore, facilitate communication as costs are reduced and productivity increased. Having the flexibility to work from home or in any given location has contributed to keeping those involved in the process, motivated and enthused with the possibilities at hand. Communication and how it is defined has come a long way and it won’t be long before PC conferencing has become vulgar.

Sources:
http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/distancelearning/videoconferencing/index.html/#what
http://www.flexibility.co.uk/flexwork/technology/polycom.htm

Bill Gates Comments on the Future of Video conferencing

Apparently Microsoft is looking at ways to improve PC to PC videoconferencing. The following was posted on March 10, 2006 on Time.com.

TIME:What other innovations are coming from your research group?

Gates: Videoconferencing is another good example. There’s more of it going on today than in the past. But it’s still not really mainstream. Even with cameras being very cheap, one thing that researchers noticed was that you look really bad in a videoconference image, because the lighting is bad and you get shadows and things. So they’re showing this software that makes you look good, that understands about shadows and bags under your eyes and highlighting the twinkle in your eye and it’s very realistic. It’s what a great makeup artist would do, but the software is doing that with this face recognition and transformation. And so it’s things like that that will take something like videoconferencing and you’ll start to use it more and you’ll start to think of it and you won’t really realize that a fairly key element was a little bit of magic software.

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1172105,00.html

Growth of VOIP Benefits Video Conferencing

As Voice over IP becomes part of the everyday workplace, other benefits of this technology are also being discovered. For example, businesses are discovering unique ways to save money with VOIP technology, including savings related to adding/moving a telephone for a worker, and lower long-distance costs. At newer facilities, IT personnel can also run fewer cables to workstations (sometimes just one instead of two or more) also reducing costs.With one cable to a workstation instead of several, installation costs can drop by almost half.

Also, since VOIP customers have this technology available, they are seeing reductions in the cost of teleconferencing and videoconferencing. Traditional teleconferencing can cost six to twelve times as much as VOIP teleconferencing. Other savings are being seen for videoconferencing, which can run $200 to $300 per hour for traditional videoconferencing sessions.

However, the transition to VOIP isn’t all roses… voice-over-IP projects take more than twice the time for planning, installation and training than originally expected, according to recent research. However, once implemented, the benefits are significant, and well worth the difficulties associated with implementation.
Since these technologies are so new, it will be awhile before actual data-driven research can point definitively to the amount of savings that convergence and VOIP technologies will provide. However, those leading change are quick to point out that these technologies “improve worker productivity with unified communications and mobility integration”.

References
http://www.webwereld.nl/articles/40308

Dr. Technology Will See You Now

Imagine being able to go to your local health clinic (no matter how remote your community) and being able to consult with the most experienced specialists in virtually any medical field. This is one of the opportunties that telemedicine can bring to all of us.

Telemedicine can empower local communities by improving access to quality medical care. Travel times and waiting will be reduced, and eventually advanced robotics could even provide a means for surgeons to operate via long distances. Believe it or not, these technologies are already being used.

The following is from the Orlando Sentinel:

“Telemedicine is widely used already, with doctors consulting each other from thousands of miles apart, even examining patients through video. Advances in robotics also will make it possible someday for doctors to operate on patients in remote settings.”

The future for telemedicine is bright, indeed.

Video Conferencing - Enabling Education without Boundaries

Technological development has inevitably changed the way we envision the world surrounding us. This reality has, therefore, expanded its realm of influence to the educational field. Traditional teaching, constrained to the physical boundaries of a classroom, has lost the ability to respond to the needs of a new generation of learners. Innovative teaching methods supported b y technology have surged, in which time and place no longer confine learning from taking place.

Video Conferencing is one of the means used to provide both educational staff and learners with innovative, more exciting educational opportunities. In a simplistic perspective, it permits communication to take place with the aid of video cameras, microphones and video monitors. In a broader viewpoint however it puts people, independent of their geographical location, in contact. Videoconferencing allows, in real time, for a student in the United States, for instance, to communicate with other learners or tutor, for that matter, in any part of the world thus enlightening their educational experience. On the other hand, teachers and other educational staff are granted new resources which facilitate teaching and make it a more enjoyable process altogether.

Video Conferencing has responded to the needs of a non traditional student population as well. Currently, students with geographical, financial, time constraints are granted educational possibilities anyhow, a reality somewhat impossible a few years back. Students with physical disabilities, who cannot commute to a school, for example, are granted the same educational possibilities through videoconferencing. What’s more, it puts both institutions, in general and teachers in particular, in contact thus creating opportunities for them to share professional and personal experiences. What’s more, videoconferencing has allowed institutions stricken by financial difficulties to grant their students with quality education in any case, as they can visit a museum or zoo without leaving the comfort of their classroom.

Video Conferencing and all its potential has only given its first steps and its full potential yet to be explored.

Sources:
http://www.bcsip.org/PATHFINDER/resources/Videoconferencing_article.pdf

LS Blogs

Tandberg Announces New Video Phones For Public Places

The future is here! Remember those movies where the star is walking through an airport or coffee shop “some time” in the future and stops to make an important video call? OK so maybe it’s just me but in any case that scenario appears to be closer than you may think. Tandberg USA, a leader in the videoconferencing products industry has announced the release of the Tandberg Compass. From the Tandberg Website:

Innovative, fully-integrated solution designed for public spaces. With simple controls, users can easily tap into resources such as information help desks, travel services and translation assistance.

Could this be a common scene in every airport, department store, mall, or anywhere you see payphones today? It would seem that’s a more than likely possibility. These endpoints specifically designed for immediate f ace-to-face information access in public spaces. That of course raises a few privacy concerns. Would you want to use a video phone to talk to your loved ones that anyone standing behind you can see? What about business applications. Sure it’s a great way to visually get the message accross but with eavesdroppers just feet awayhow secure is that? It’s more than likely the first issue this would pose for whatever venue attempting to impelment this is creating a privacy booth around the phone. But then, would it be abused? Would Joe User take a moment to call his fiance for a private peek show at the airport on his way to a business meeting? Would that be appropriate? How would federal wire tapping laws apply?

The desire for personal video communications is and will continue to be there. The only questions is what will we do with it once we get it.

How Video Conferencing Can Support Education

Video Conferencing technology is all the rage among corporations. Recently educational facilities have begun taking advantage of Videoconferencing technology to support learning and education. Videoconferencing equipment can help facilitate instruction and provide distant learners with a host of resources and access to content providers, teachers, librarians and more.

More and more teachers are adopting Video Conferencing as a method of enhanced communication and instruction. Many California schools are using Videoconferencing to connect with one another and produce networks carrying large volumes of video and text data to educational facilities, teachers and students. Other people that benefit from Videoconferencing technology include librarians who can use Videoconferencing to develop strategies, provide resources and improve the quality of their service and delivery.

Video Conferencing And Learning

Video Conferencing facilitates learning by allowing remote or distant learners to meet regardless of their location. Students can take classes at multiple universities. In essence classes that are not available at one location may be available at another through Videoconferencing. Videoconferencing can also benefit non traditional students who are not able to attend classes during normal hours.

Video Conferencing can also be used as a career or employee training tool. Many colleges are now collaborating with local businesses to offer students certification and business training. Expert subject matter delivered from individuals in the field is easily delivered to students using this new technology. Student can also take advantage of mentoring services offered by companies in distant locations using Video Conferencing technology. The possibilities are virtually endless.