by Susan Miller, PhD

Be Heard the First Time offers proven strategies for women to dramatically improve their communication skills by one of the country’s foremost voice trainers and vocal health experts, trainers and vocal health experts. Some of the times from her book include:

  1. Use your body as a tool to present yourself professionally and to speak better with assertive posture, unambiguous eye communication, affirming gestures and body movement, engaging facial expressions, and impressive appearance.
  2. Let your voice quality help convey your points. When speaking, utilize your best pitch and generate tone with air from your lungs. “Make your voice resonant by maintaining space between your teeth as you speak, forming your vowel sounds, and moving your lower jaw smoothly as you speak.” It is almost like speaking with your mouth relaxed as when you yawn.
  3. Be aware of your voice’s volume. You do not want co-workers to tune you out because you speak too softly or cringe when you speak too loudly. “Compare your speaking intensity level to other speakers. Learn to calibrate your vocal intensity.”
  4. Relax your breathing before you enter the office or make a presentation. Huffing and puffing in front of your boss or as you make a presentation makes you look unprepared and unprofessional. “Relax your breathing before you get to the office by breathing through your nose. Keep your molars slightly apart with your lips closed and place your tongue tip lightly behind your upper and lower front teeth. This will allow the perfect amount of air to come in.”
  5. Put your best foot forward with your speech. “Speech clarity, including precise sound production and proper rate, cadence and pronunciation, and elimination of filler words are indispensable for anyone serious about improving her professional communication.”Call Kathleen Hughes, [email protected] or 703-661-1511 for a review copy or interview with Susan Miller, author of BE HEARD THE FIRST TIME: The Woman’s Guide to Powerful Speaking
  6. Maintain your calm, even if you are nervous or scared of speaking in front of others. When your nerves appear, “welcome your physiological signs of arousal and begin relaxed non-speech breathing. Practice relaxing your throat which will allow air to expand your lower rib cage automatically. Voluntarily constrict then release tense neck and shoulder muscles.”
  7. If your mouth gets dry before you speak, bite the tip of your tongue. When you get nervous, your mouth often gets dry and feels like you are speaking with Styrofoam in your mouth. Bite the tip of your tongue with your back teeth – hard! This will always bring moisture into your mouth so that you can speak clearly.
  8. Keep a positive mental image of yourself. “Analyze your self-talk. Say loving comments to yourself. Create three powerful affirmations and say them every morning. Affirmations change your thinking. Change your thinking and your reality changes.”

Be Heard the First Time: The Woman’s Guide to Powerful Speaking Book Review, by Thomas Calcagni

It probably comes as no surprise that a large number of people have a genuine fear of public speaking. In one survey, in fact, more than thirty percent of respondents indicated they fear speaking in public more than they fear death. While most of us, fortunately, do not experience this level of dread when called upon to speak, many of us would probably admit to some level of discomfort from time to time at the prospect of speaking or presenting in front of others. And that’s why Be Heard the First Time: The Woman’s Guide to Powerful Speaking, by Susan Miller, PhD, CCC-SLP, is just what the doctor ordered.

Be Heard the First Time is a practical guide to improving your presentation skills. And even though the book is billed as a “Woman’s Guide to Powerful Speaking,” men also will find the helpful advice and practical exercises in the book extremely valuable. Whether you are looking to create a more professional presence, fine tune your presentation skills or develop a powerful speaking voice that will command people’s attention and respect, the words Be Heard the First Time should be the first words you speak.

Don’t, however, let the subject matter fool you. Even though Dr. Miller’s book is filled to the brim with insightful observations and communications tips for everyday use, it is an upbeat and entertaining read. Where else are you likely to discover that the best way to relieve a dry mouth is by biting your tongue or that anxiety can be your friend? If you have never had the opportunity to work with Dr. Miller, Be Heard the First Time is the next best thing. And, when you finally turn the final page of this outstanding offering from Capital Books, you might just find something unexpected. Not only will you be equipped with the communications tools necessary to enhance and improve your presentation skills, you’ll experience an increased level of confidence as a speaker. And, as we all know, confidence is the key to success.